1.05 Bloody Mary: Understand the Hashtag Trend Before You Tweet

Bloody Mary folklore permeates pop culture. As a kid, I remember being at a sleepover and being dared to go into the bathroom and to say Bloody Mary three times and wait. We were timed – whoever ran the fastest was sure to be taunted for the rest of the school year. You know it’s stupid; you know you don’t want to. Part of you is even afraid that something could happen, but you would never admit that out loud. So peer pressure kicks in and suddenly you find yourself in the dark in the bathroom, facing your own reflection in the mirror…

Dean: All right, say ‘Bloody Mary’ really is haunting this town. There’s gonna be some sort of proof—Like a local woman who died nasty.
Sam: Yeah but a legend this widespread it’s hard. I mean, there’s like 50 versions of who she actually is. One story says she’s a witch, another says she’s a mutilated bride, there’s a lot more.
Dean: All right so what are we supposed to be looking for?
Sam: Every versions got a few things in common. It’s always a woman named Mary, and she always dies right in front of a mirror. So we’ve gotta search local newspapers—public records as far back as they go. See if we can find a Mary who fits the bill.
Dean: Well that sounds annoying.
Sam: No it won’t be so bad, as long as we… I take it back. This will be very annoying.

The point is – in a roundabout way – that jumping on the bandwagon and saying or doing something just because everyone else is, isn’t the smartest thing you can do as a kid, and it’s certainly a bad practice when it comes to social media.

Let’s look back an epic hashtag fail from DiGiorno Pizza:

digiorno-pizza#WhyIStayed and #WhenILeft featured stories from survivors of domestic abuse, and were created in response to the Ray Rice controversy. Though the tweet was taken down pretty quickly, it’s obvious that someone over at DiGiorno either wasn’t paying attention to WHY they were trending, or just didn’t care.

Jumping on a hashtag bandwagon, even one you can *technically* spin to work for your brand, isn’t always the best practice; i.e. don’t do it unless you really understand why it’s trending in the first place, and make sure you take the time to weigh the benefits – and repercussions – of using that hashtag.

When SCOTUS made their historic ruling on marriage equality, 3.96 Million Tweets used #LoveWins, and Twitter added a rainbow heart to every. single. one. Here are some great examples of brands getting it RIGHT this time.

My personal favorite hailed from Westeros: Be proud. renly

If only Renly Baratheon had lived to see this day!

 

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