We’ve talked about hashtags in the past discussing #FreeSimmons, #WeaselPecker, #AskSeaWorld, the #NAACPBombing, DiGiorno’s improper use of #WhyIStayed, Australia’s #WarOnTerrier, and the rise of hashtavism.
Celebrities of all stripes choosing to take part in scheduled Q&As on various social media channels has become a commonplace occurrence. However, as we’ve seen before, there is good reason for politicians to stay out of such engagement as Republican Presidential nominee Bobby Jindal learned with his #AskBobby hashtag that resulted in several pointed questions about his personal and professional beliefs that neither the politician nor his team expected (or had a plan to deal with). It didn’t take long for any legitimate questions to candidate to get completely lost in the sheer volume of those hijacking the handle to call out Jindal on his stated beliefs.
Another recent hashtag which was hijacked for use in a way the organizers didn’t expect was the #DontJudgeChallenge. The campaign to fight body shaming online backfired in a big way with Millennials took the net not to celebrate their looks but going far and beyond to create ugly photographs of themselves to mock the intended use of the hashtag.
Both #AskBobby and #DontJudgeChallenge remind us that the intended use of the hashtag is only one possible outcome. Vetting, monitoring, and controlling a hashtag can be a full-time endeavor which is why understanding possible misuse before beginning such a campaign is paramount for a brand.