Of all of the techniques, strategies, flotsam and jetsam to spawn from social media since its meteoric rise in the mid-2000′s, there may be nothing as polarizing as the hashtag. Some users utilize hashtags any chance that they get, others see them as an aesthetic and textual nuisance.

But the real question is: are hashtags useful in any real way?

Today, another social network, Vine, announced the platform-wide adoption of hashtag-focused organization and search. Vine CTO Nick Kroll wrote in a blog post for the company:

“To surface that content, we’re introducing trending hashtags, which show you the fastest-rising hashtags on Vine. These hashtags signify those that have moved up quickly in popularity; they aren’t necessarily the hashtags with the most posts.”

Using hashtags to track trends has been the mode of choice not only for Vine parent company Twitter, but also for Flickr, Path and Instagram. Last month, there was even talk of Facebook taking up the hashtag trend, though the social media giant has remained silent on the topic. On the surface, incorporating a searchable component based on hashtags is a helpful thing: users would be able to discover topics and search for what they want quickly, without having to bother with further context. Read more