As part of a new series of blog posts, I’m taking a closer look at recently trending hashtags on Twitter in an effort to better understand what goes viral, what it says about the Twitterverse, and how professional communicators can apply what we’ve learned.
Today’s hashtag: #ReindeerPickUpLines
In this amusing installment, users are encouraged to imagine themselves as one of Santa’s reindeer and what you might say to solicit another reindeer. The hashtag was proposed by none other than McMannofthepeople, one of Twitter’s most prolific hashtag connoisseurs as host of “Hashtag, You’re It!”.
Once again, the popularity of a trending hashtag has more to do with how individuals can add their voice to the message, and less to do with newsworthiness or its overall importance to people’s lives. The more fun and irreverent the better, it would seem. Here are a few examples of some of the fun that was had today:
“Well, if you ever saw it, you might even say it glows.”
— Dreamweasel (@Dreamweasel) December 20, 2016
Wanna go into town and blow a few bucks? #ReindeerPickUpLines
— Christina Bo Beena (@LaNaranjaMala) December 20, 2016
But, that’s not to say a degree of politics and social commentary can’t be injected from time to time …
#ReindeerPickUpLines “I don’t need a pickup line. I just grab ’em by the antlers” — Donald the Orange Nosed Reindeer
— FeMOMist Resistance (@TFemomist) December 20, 2016
Which leaves us with an interesting question … what happens if your hashtag gets hijacked as a platform for beliefs that might not jive with the intended purpose of the hashtag? The example above is amusing for Hillary supporters, but might be construed as inflammatory by a Trump supporter.
That is one of the great fears of corporations that choose to develop and use their own hashtags for their campaigns. It’s great for tracking the success of an event or message, but it can easily become a nightmare if you don’t have the social clout to regain control.
What safeguards do you put in place for your social media campaigns? How do you forecast the potential for user misuse? I’d be interested to discuss in the comments below.