#TakeNote! Your clever hashtag that you’ve gone through the trouble of consistently using may not be going viral anytime soon if nobody outside your personal friends and family can see it. All posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram particularly are only as visible as your privacy settings allow. If you have a locked account on Twitter and Instagram, only your connections can see what you post, including your hashtag. If you have your privacy settings on Facebook set to only show to your friends, and not open to everyone, only those in your network will be able to click on and see your hashtag.
I’m not advocating for you to open your personal account up to everyone at all times, but it is important to understand the proper use of hashtags and the limitations you’ll encounter on social media, especially if you’re looking for things to spread. Facebook allows you to alter your privacy settings with each individual post to your timeline, so get used to altering it to “everyone” when you really want to share something that involves a hashtag or your intention that the entire post be shared with others you may or may not know.
If you’ve ever been on Facebook when someone shared something and seen the message “attachment unavailable”, it’s because your friend shared something from his or her friend who didn’t open up privacy settings. While your friend sees the content perfectly fine (and may have even been asked/encouraged by his or her friend to share it), it doesn’t work that way if the person didn’t lift the privacy restrictions.
So remember, your #hashtag use is only as good as your privacy settings.