Instagram recently announced that they would be expanding their guides feature to all users. Originally launched for public figures and selected creators, this feature with mental health in mind.
“After Guides were first introduced in May, Instagram saw strong community response and requests for increased availability,” according to a press release. “Guides provide another way for the community to connect with their favorite accounts, discover new products from people they may not already follow, and get inspired by what content people are loving on Instagram.”
Originally beginning as a way to push more well-being content, guides now also include the three Ps; Products, Places, and Posts. Similar to blog posts: people can now also add photos, videos, and written texts to make their content more awe-inspiring and encouraging.
Furthermore, people can find this content simply by typing in any word or phrase that may appear, not just the specific hashtag used.
So with Instagram becoming more like a search engine than a social media platform, will the hashtag be able to keep up with the pace on sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn?
Instagram really is becoming a force to be reckoned with. They already had the powerhouse partnership with Facebook that enabled shop facilities never seen before on a social platform and data on users based on what content they were interacting with. But by eliminating the need to search for one particular hashtag, they will be gaining a much more competitive advantage over their fellow social platforms. What's more, the introduction of the ability to create more long-form content will only serve to keep people on the platform longer, which I'm sure will prove incredibly lucrative to advertisers.
Although the hashtag does still have some credible impact on social media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it might have lost a little of its power, especially as we head into an era of transparency and more ‘quality control’ from brands like Facebook. With people warier of their own data and of spam in general, it could well be the case that the hashtag has reached its natural end.