From content creators, influencers, narcissists with a camera, or anything in between, they power social media, introducing others to things like news, memes, or trends.
To group the many posts social media have, users usually use Hashtags ('#') to classify their posts into others similar. First popularized by Twitter, hashtags are one of the popular keys of discoverability. It has massive influence that other social media, including Facebook and Instagram, have also adopted it.
And as for Instagram, it's putting those hashtags into a better being.
In an update, Instagram starts allowing people to Follow Hashtags for the first time, in addition to individual accounts.
The company started testing the feature for about a month ago, before rolling it out to everyone.
Instagram's strategy in allowing users to follow hashtags, could give another way for users to discover other users who have posted contents they care about. Otherwise, hashtags are just those links for those that want to see more of a certain topic.
According to Matt Ogle, product manager for Interests at Instagram:
"We're excited to create new and easy ways for people to keep up with their hobbies and passions and discover accounts, right from their feed. Instagram is making interests — and the communities that form around them — a big focus, and following hashtags is our first step."
To use the feature, users just need to search for, or tap on a hashtag they are interested in. Here, Instagram added 'follow', just like when viewing an individual account. Unfollowing is also the same as users have the ability to unfollow hashtags they've followed at anytime.
For those who are concerned that their feed will be overwhelmed after following a bunch of hashtags, the company said that it will only show "top posts" from those hashtags. This way, users have less to worry.
As for privacy, Instagram said that following hashtags has the same rules as following regular accounts; hashtags that are followed are visible to anyone on Instagram who checks out their profile. If users' profile is set to private, only those that are followers will be able to see them.
Initially, users can't turn this off.