The dangers of social media self-promotion
Twitter hashtag hijackings have become a common form of both protest and entertainment for the Internet crowd. McDonalds has run awry of this several times recently, most notably with its #McDStories campaign that drew out thousands of extremely creative, and often stomach-turning, tweets tweaking the company, as also happened to Quantas airlines, Walgreens, and many more.
Now, you can add actress/model/TV host Jenny McCarthy to join the list, after she faced the wrath of Twitter users. Here’s her (seemingly benign) post that kicked it all off:
What is the most important personality trait you look for in a mate? Reply using #JennyAsks
— Jenny McCarthy (@JennyMcCarthy) March 13, 2014
Seems pretty harmless, right? That is, until you consider the fact that McCarthy has been an extremely vocal anti-vaccination activist, a position that has those on the other side of the debate heated up (a debate we’re not going to touch with a ten-foot pole, in case you were wondering). Within 24 hours, pro-vaccination posters had completely and utterly hijacked the #JennyAsks hashtag, with tweets like these summing up the type of sentiment expressed by most:
I would choose someone who values scientific fact over so-called “celebrity” opinion. Well, you did ask for it! #JennyAsks
— Niamh Morris (@nifiemorris) March 18, 2014
I like long walks on the beach, candle lit dinners, and a lack of polio. #JennyAsks
— Danny Porter (@Danny_Boy1985) March 23, 2014
Here’s the deal – before starting any hashtag campaign, it’s smart social media crisis management to consider how it could be used against you, and exactly how much impact a hijacking could have. While negative sentiment may circulate either way, creating a way for your detractors to connect and focus their energy, and attracting many more who are simply game to jump in on the latest trollfest for fun, is often a #badidea.
The BCM Blogging Team