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#Hashtags: Facebook's missing link to pop culture Scan Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr. Watch your favorite television show, or even listen to the radio, and you might notice that the biggest social network of them all is disconnected from pop culture -- at least when it comes to hash tags. Hash tags are a form of expression that Facebook, like your grandparents, just can't understand. The social network appears motivated to change that, although a spokesperson wouldn't share details on when and how it will roll out hash tags. However it shakes out, hash tags on Facebook are long overdue. Their presence could help Facebook lure young users -- something it struggles with -- and provide the missing link to so much that goes on across social media, from celeb gossip and breaking news to advertising offers and goofy memes.On Facebook, hash tags in status updates are dead text. People still use them, particularly those who cross-post updates from Twitter or Instagram, but the tags are disconnected from the topics, news, or memes they reference. #awkwardmoments #wwhl— Andy Cohen (@BravoAndy) May 22, 2013"Hash tags are just like slang," said Jonah Berger, a social psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. And, just like slang, people use them to show that they belong to the group that's in the know. From geek to chicFirst used on Twitter in 2007, hash tags long ago crossed the geek chasm. Now, celebrities, teens, and everyone in between, use them for nuanced articulation. Brandi Glanville, a polarizing but popular cast member on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," uses hash tags to punctuate text with personality in her book, "Drinking and Tweeting." Mariah Carey's new hit single "#Beautiful" is, itself, a hash tag. Check out the original cut of my brand new video #Beautiful ft. Miguel!!!— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) May 10, 2013You can blame, or thank, Chris Messina for making hash tags part of our modern vocabulary. Messina, now a Google employee, is the developer who first proposed that people use the pound sign to group conversations on Twitter. He borrowed the practice from Internet Relay Chat (IRC) networks, where people often used the # symbol to label groups and topics.Some Twitter users started using hash tags to associate tweets with groups, conferences, events, and discussions. It took two years for Twitter, in July 2009, to hyperlink hash tags so that everyone could use them for quick searches, a move that took them beyond the geek set. Related storiesFacebook's Zuckerberg disses iPhone, removes postTwitter at a crossroads once againHas AOL finally unloaded Bebo?Advocacy groups: Facebook privacy changes not enoughN.Y. attorney general tackles child porn on social networksSoon after, Twitter's Trending Topics list turned hash-tagged words and phrases into viral meme makers. Today, with its Promoted Trends advertising product, Twitter caters to advertisers who want to ride the popularity wave of hot topics in a way that Facebook can't. Facebook has watched this phenomenon play out for some time. The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, for instance, drew the largest audience for any television broadcast in MTV's history, something that MTV and Twitter attribute in part to MTV's decision to promote #VMA. The push resulted in 10 million tweets.Instagram, now owned by Facebook, also helped the hash tag trend along when it started to support them in January 2011. When it introduced them, the then-independent company admitted that it was taking the idea from Twitter. "Yes, they work similarly to Twitter hash tags," Instagram wrote in its blog post, "but reinvented from the perspective of an Instagram user."Facebook may be have been holding itself back to avoid a similar, and more embarrassing, admission: that Twitter got it right. But now that Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, and Twitter's Vine are all hash-tag-friendly zones, Facebook looks like a stubborn holdout ignorant of Internet culture.Teen speakThe teens and tweens did their part as well.At first, hash tags let young people use Twitter to participate in public conversations -- primarily about Justin Bieber. Getting Bieber visibility became a game, said Danah Boyd, a senior researcher for Microsoft who studies how young people use social media. Teens rallied around hash tags and Bieber so forcefully that Twitter changed the algorithm behind Trending Topics in May 2010 to ensure that its hot-topic list wasn't always dedicated to the Biebs.Hash tag play is still going strong for Twitter's teen audience, which takes pleasure in making topics, such as One Direction reference #carrotnight, trend. Twitter's Trending Topics have proved instrumental in nudging teens to participate in these memes, with hash tags acting as their main method of following news they care about.#carrotnight look me in the eye and tell me you never tried painting your nails like this" @iharryliscious i remember— Alyssa (@KeepingUpOn1D) March 19, 2013"Most teens don't follow news aficionados and most new junkies don't follow teens," Boyd said. The only way that the two audiences ever cross paths is through the Trending Topics. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team are well aware that teens are using Twitter like mad. Pew Research just reported that almost one in four teens use Twitter, up from 16 percent in 2011. The same study noted that teens are expressing waning enthusiasm for Facebook. On Instagram, too, teens use keyword tags to participate in memes, express themselves in profiles, and generate more "likes" for their photos. Facebook kills these creative tactics the minute hash-tagged Instagram photos land in your News Feed. "Those teens who used sites like Twitter and Instagram reported feeling like they could better express themselves on these platforms," Pew said. Tag, you're it#ThrowbackThursday, also known as #tbt for short, is a widely popular hash tag meme on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr enjoyed by a mainstream audience. Every Thursday, people from all walks of life post old pictures of themselves or their favorite celebrities.Jennifer Van Grove/CNETYou'd think that Facebook would have been at the forefront of this social media movement. It popularized tagging people in photos, after all, and made the geeky metadata option easy for the masses to adopt with a simple sell: tag each other in photos and help each other get seen.Facebook clearly wants to be a bigger part of the public discourse around breaking news. The company even tweaked its structure when it introduced subscribers, now called "followers," to amplify the voice of people, personalities, and news organization who want to reach larger audiences. Hash tags would help Facebook magnify related conversations happening across the social network, especially if, as newly discovered code hints, the social network lets people hover over a hash tag to get more information or see a stream of publicly shared status updates.Missing more than coolIn the same vein as photo tags, hash tags would promote sharing on the social network and encourage members to come back more frequently and stick around. There's also substantial revenue potential, as proved by Twitter which charges advertisers $200,000 per day for Promoted Trends and is expected to see its overall ad revenue climb from $582.8 million this to about $1 billion in 2014, according to eMarketer. Hash tags would give Facebook a simple way to collect the public status updates of members who associate their posts with various subjects and improve the quality of results in Graph Search, its nascent search product.Really though, Facebook, just needs to show youngsters that it can speak their language.$199 Kindle Fire, $99 Kindle Touch unveiled (live blog) Editor's note: We used Cover It Live to cover CEO Jeff Bezos unveiling of new Kindle devices today in New York. If you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component at the bottom of this post. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary from our readers and CNET writers. You can also read our edited transcript below about the company's key announcements.To sum it up, Bezos unveiled a $99 Wi-Fi only, no-button Kindle Touch e-reader and a $149 Kindle Touch 3G--both designed to rival the Nook Touch. He also showed off a redesigned basic, non-touch Kindle e-reader for $79. The big news of the morning was the $199 Kindle Fire tablet. The 7-inch, 14.6-ounce tablet--Amazon's first foray into tablets--features a color touch screen, a dual-core processor, wireless syncing, free Amazon Cloud storage, and Amazon's new Silk browser. The transcript of the live blog starts here:10:03-04 a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Event starting now. Interviews with Kindle users on screen. Very lifestyle-y. All about e-ink.10:08-10 a.m. ET (Scott Stein):The $79 Kindle being reported everywhere is dirt cheap. Is that close enough to free for most people? If prices for both the e-ink and tablet versions are so competitive, people are going to have a hard time making up their minds as to which is better. Not a bad problem to have.10:11-12a.m. ET (David Carnoy):OK, sorry, was having issues. Bezos on stage. Talking Cloud reader. Whispersync now. Popular highlights, wonderful features on Kindle, real page numbers. Says it's more technically challenging to do real page numbers. Now talking Kindle Singles.10:12 a.m. ET (Scott Stein): Which still don't work on all Kindle books...10:13 -14 a.m. ET (David Carnoy): Bezos looking fairly dapper. On to the the library lending feature. Kindle is "end to end service." Here it is...Kindle Touch. Infrared touch like Nook Touch. What we've been waiting for...smaller, lighter, whitish color. Looks like it has audio. Speaker on front.10:15 a.m. ET (John Falcone):This is updated e-ink model, I'm guessing.10:15-17 a.m. ET (David Carnoy): No buttons on device..."People like to read singlehanded."Going over "tap zones" on device. People can now use left hand only through new tap zones. Starting demo now...Under the light, this model looks more carbon or gray colored. Probably two models. New feature called X-Ray--looks at bones of the book, whatever that means.10:17 a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Bones of the book?10:18 a.m. ET (David Carnoy:):It's a kind of search feature. Brings up Wikipedia entries for terms, etc...10:19-20 a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Not sure how that will fly. The Barnes and Noble touch Nook is a very clean-looking device. The old-fashioned keyboard on the Kindle had to go sometime.10:20a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Wow. Price point is $99!10:21 a.m. ET (Scott Stein): Pretty good. Pretty...pretty good.$99 price point plus new a.m. ET (David Carnoy): Looks really thin. He's holding carbon-colored version. Has Audible support. Kindle Touch 3G, too... 10:22a.m. ET (Scott Stein):3G comes with the $99 price?10:22 a.m. ET (David Carnoy):"Free 3G" again. $149. Top-of-the-line Kindle.Amazon lights a Fire with its Kindle tablet...See full gallery1 - 4 / 11NextPrev10:22 a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Ahh. How many people use the Kindle w/ 3G?10:22 a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Wi-Fi only is $99. "We're going to sell many millions of these," Bezos says. Duh.10:22 a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Many millions.10:23 a.m. ET (David Carnoy):"What if you don't need touch?" he's now asking. New $79 Kindle without touch. Wow again. Eighteen percent smaller.10:24 a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Is the touch Kindle significantly smaller than the non-touch? That would be the big factor for most, I'd think.10:24-26a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Faster page turns. "Making premium products at non-premium prices." Devices seem about the same size. $79 model ships today. On to Special Offers...Showing whole family of new Kindles. New ad.10:27 a.m. ET (Scott Stein):It seems like a Special Offers Kindle should be able to get to free by next year at the latest. Or, hopefully, that's the goal.10:27 a.m. ET (David Carnoy):OK, we're talking about movies, MP3s, here comes tablet... Talking app store. Amazon Prime.10:29a.m. ET (Scott Stein):So to clarify, looks like the $79 Kindle has ads/Special Offers. Not a surprise.10:29-31a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Talking Prime up. Talking partners. Mentions CBS. CBS owns CNET for those who don't know.10:31 a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Amazon Prime=Amazon's iCloud/Xbox Live. Or, it's starting to seem that way. Get everyone to pay that yearly fee...10:31-34a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Now he's on to Web services...CloudFront.Come on, let's get on with the tablet already. It's hot in here. BTW, if you haven't noticed, wireless connection is dodgy in here.Rounding up all the services..."We asked ourselves is there some way to bring all these things together into remarkable product offering that customers would love."Here it comes. Kindle Fire. Simple black border. 7-inch.Has dual-core processor. Light. 14.6 ounces. All about content.10:34a.m. ET (Scott Stein):The PlayBook, reborn!10:35a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Lots of magazines, of course. "All content is backed up in the cloud so you can delete things when you want." Wireless syncing. Has image up of Apple USB connector. Whispersync will work with movies and TV shows.10:36a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Amazon's already got iCloud matched. And Amazon has killer back-end servers and cloud-delivery technology.10:36a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Bookmarks for movies on your TV, then move to your Fire10:36a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Like Netflix.10:36-37a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Saves your place.He's demoing now. Bookshelf interface. Minimalist design for UI.10:37a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Won't Apple be essentially wireless-syncing this fall, too?10:37a.m. ET (David Carnoy):No buttons on front of device.10:38a.m. ET (David Carnoy):If this is $199, it will cause Apple and B&N some pain.10:38a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Does it have that same annoyingly small power button the PlayBook was saddled with?10:39a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Showing X-Men on the screen. 169 pixels per inch, Gorilla Glass...10:39a.m. ET (Scott Stein):The integrated shelf is a clever concept.10:39-45a.m. ET (David Carnoy):"Beautiful display," Bezos says channeling Steve Jobs.Now we're listening to Adele--music player. Showing books. "You can read with music in the background." Playing Fruit Ninja game now. He's not very good. Showing speed of dual-core processor. Smooth gameplay. No 3D game, however. Showing Amazon Web page from 15 years ago. Only 10k file size. Showing Amazon today. 63 times bigger... 630 kilobytes...Looks like he's about to talk about Web surfing... Challenges of displaying modern Web pages rapidly... Looked for way to accelerate Web browsing through Amazon EC2. Introducing Amazon Web browser. Engineers on screen discussing new Amazon Silk browser. Talking about adding Amazon's (EC2) cloud computing to browser. 10:46a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Their own browser...interesting move. Not Chrome.10:46-50a.m. ET (David Carnoy):"Split browsing--split between front end and backend." Some content cached locally on device it seems. "Requesting assets running on the cloud..."Yes, caching involved. They're claiming to be able to predict your browsing habits and cache pages in advance... For instance, if you always go to New York Times home page, then business section, it preloads business section before you get there. Bezos back on stage. Showing Fire again, talking specs, 14.6 ounces--no battery life spec yet, however. 10:50a.m. ET (Scott Stein):So, it remembers your habits? Sounds like a way to assist offline browsing, possibly...wonder how this browser influences Safari/Chrome, if it improves the tablet browser experience.10:50-51a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Here comes price. Bam. $199.10:51a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Doesn't he know that news is about an hour old?10:51-52a.m. ET (David Carnoy):"Unbelievable value," Bezos says. Reiterates, "We're building premium products for premium value." Good marketing line--obviously. Kindle fire ad on screen now. Sorry, "Premium products at non-premium prices" is line. Kindle Fire ships November 15. Can preorder today. 10:52-53a.m. ET (Scott Stein):This changes the price equation. It's not a $99 HP TouchPad, but it's awfully close--and far better. Looks like Amazon learned from what happened this summer.10:53-54a.m. ET (David Carnoy):Press conference coming to a close soon. Overall, more impressive than we expected. We will now get hands on time with devices. That's end of the press conference. On to the devices. Will try to clarify pricing on Special Offers Kindles.10:54a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Also made a clever price scale: $149 for Kindle with 3G, only $50 more for the Fire. Very Apple-like.10:55a.m. ET (David Carnoy):As I said, will create problems for Barnes & Noble and e-reader makers.10:55a.m. ET (Scott Stein):David, thanks for the on-floor coverage. I think it will chip away at Apple a bit, too.10:55a.m. ET (David Carnoy):These prices are what people have been waiting for.10:55-11:00a.m. ET (Scott Stein):Agreed. Think this is going to chip away at Apple a bit, too. These could also cause a big hit on iPod Touch sales, I'd imagine...same price and functions, in a way. Thanks for the on-floor coverage, David. And thanks, everyone, for being here and firing off some great comments. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shows off the Kindle Fire tablet.Sarah Tew/CNETThis content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?YesNoSorry, you are not old enough to view this content.Play Editors' note: The original, barebones version of this story was published September 27 at 1:14 p.m. PT.