I was trying not to comment on Twitter‘s decision to link hashtags with search until I can see how that one effected the service. Last night I saw something that shown the real value of this move.
The ability to simply click on a hashtag and see everyone engaged in the discussion made it easier for the community to interact. It opened space for bigger and more relevant discussions that are easier to follow.
How it use to be:
Discussions use to be generally limited inside a mutually followed community. It was extremely rear that persons not following themselves would engage into a discussion. An influential twitterer could set a ball rolling but there was no real interaction between thousands of his followers if they weren’t following between themselves.
Yesterday, for example, a small community of people on twitter started talking about Croatian media. We talked about the need for a decent online news channel, a trusted source unaffected by the government or mass capital. The discussion picked up under the hashtag #HrMedia.
Suddenly, people that I’ve never heard of started engaging us in conversation. They brought thoughts and ideas of value. This was no longer a 140 character conversation. People started talking to each other as if we were in some sort of bulletin board, a special one, niche targeted for one really small but important topic. I ended up following lots of people I never knew about before and gained even more followers as a result of this discussion. Another result of this discussion is that a real life meeting is arranged to discuss the idea of actually creating such a news site.
It appears that Twitter did a great move and became much more useful now that it links hashtags to search and enables big, more valuable discussions.