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An Engadget editor who tried to get as many Instagram followers as possible in one month said “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and that step was to utilize hashtags.

One of the most popular, if not the most popular, social media gurus, Gary Vaynerchuck would always say “Instagram’s about hashtags.”

Well, now, Instagram has changed – as of December, 2017, hashtags have never been more useful.

You can follow hashtags, just like you follow people.

Before we dive into the implications of this change, lets first discuss the #.

What is a Hashtag?

Hashtag usage started with Twitter and spread like a virus into all forms of social media. They became a way to tag content and categorize thoughts. It was as simple as using a pound sign followed by a word.

At first, we all thought: “Is this a joke?”

Now almost a decade later, we hardly notice the tags that sit at the end of online posts, they are part of the furniture.

What is quite amazing is that they give audiences the ability to find a topic and view a large pool of opinions.

The tags can be anything, and by simply searching on a platform (Twitter Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) you can see all the users who have made a post and included the hashtag.

Events utilize hashtags to showcase the viewer’s point of view, brands use hashtags to build a culture and recognition, individuals use hashtags to show their post belongs to a category (ex. #puppy, #vancouver).

How Have Hashtags Changed in 2018?

You can follow specific hashtags and have the most popular content appear in your feed.

A user’s feed will be comprised of individual people they follow, and hashtags they decide to follow. Only the most popular content from those hashtags will appear.

Instagram is no stranger to copying the most popular features of other platforms. They have had a lot of success in the past.

According to the verge, this was in parallel to Spotify’s ability to use both machine learning and humans to create the personalized ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist.

That may be far-fetched, but we know that it is a welcome change and one that will definitely grow over time.

Which hashtags are you going to follow?