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Spare the hashtags part 2

Spare the hashtags part 2

By David Worthington

It’s amazing how quickly a tweet can turn viral. Real estate mogul, ‘birther’ and reality personality Donald Trump sent out a furious flurry of tweets last week after Deadspin’s editors told him off in the most unflattering way imaginable. Trump’s response made the story.

“The Donald” is more of a brand than an individual, so it’s fair to add Trump’s characteristic bombastic reaction to a working list of the all time worst Twitter fails by big brands. There’s many examples of companies that have failed to understand the nature of Twitter being a very public two-way dialog.

Those fails include some very well known brands. Qantas introduced a new luxury class via tweet while its flights were grounded due to a labor dispute, McDonald’s had its #McDstories hashtag marketing campaign derailed (nobody controls hashtags) by its critics, and Kenneth Cold attempted to “newsjack” the #Cairo hashtag in an during the Arab Spring uprisings. Each ones of those instances became a fiasco – if not a scandal – for the brands involved.

The take away is: don’t be your own worst enemy. The simplest lesson is that hashtags are overused, and there’s a huge potential for mischief. The deeper message is to think before you tweet, because Twitter is intrinsically viral.

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