Who can forget the epic hijacking that was #McDStories? Promoted by McDonald’s to drum up some positive PR by showcasing the company’s suppliers, the hashtag began trending for all the wrong reasons. People used it to discuss the fast food chain’s poor practices, unsanitary conditions and the unhealthy nature of their products.
Walgreens is a national drugstore giant, but it was knocked down to size when it urged people to tweet about why they love the brand. The ensuing messages were less enthusiastic about the company’s good service and more critical of its food offerings, prescription pickup and high prices.
Waitrose, an upscale British supermarket chain, asked its customers to express why they enjoyed shopping at the retailer. The result? Tweets filled with hilarious, over-the-top pretentiousness and snobbery. The tweets detailed sending servants to pick up groceries and how Waitrose’s products fit the specific diets of their ponies.
Very few people enjoy flying — there’s no leg room, the food is awful and three hours into the flight the air starts to taste stale. Australian airline Qantas believed its customers had enough positive experiences to share with the hashtag #QantasLuxury. What the company received, however, were hundreds of tweets about the less-than-stellar quality of its flights.
Susan Boyle is best known for her Britain’s Got Talent audition, which became a viral hit. When her PR team created the hashtag “#susanalbumparty” for the release of her newest album, Boyle got her second viral spotlight. Many users read it as #SusAnalBumParty and included the hashtag in joking tweets, asking who was looking forward to this romp.
Another case of poor hashtag writing, this Twitter gem is often compared to the Susan Boyle affair. The hashtag began shortly after the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Twitter users read the hashtag as NowThatCher’sDead, rather than NowThatcher’sDead, and rumors of the singer’s passing spread across the Twittersphere until it was confirmed that Cher was still alive.
Political hashtags are prime targets for hijacking, and none more so than #ObamacareIsWorking. First used in tweets about the positive effects of the Obamacare policies, the hashtag soon became a sarcastic endnote for users tweeting about Obamacare’s failures. A similar hashtag, #ILikeObamacare, has also been hijacked for sardonic usage.
A hashtag hijacking for the better, #LGBTfacts started with one account posting erroneous and insulting “facts” about LGBT individuals. Soon, other Twitter users took over the hashtag to combat the original poster’s cruel words. Some tweeted real facts about issues facing the LGBT community, while others wrote false but hilarious pseudo-facts.
Comic illustration by Angela Liao, 20px. Published with permission; all rights reserved.
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