The Influence of the Hashtag

Emerging media is truly at its greatest when hashtags (#) are being used. Events are shared and trending topics can change at the drop of a hat.  There is a hashtag for just about anything and everything. News stations, TV shows, teams, organizations, a single person and many other entities have created hashtags to distinguish online conversation topics. The hashtag has enabled the public to constantly post/share/tweet their feelings about anything or anyone. It is an immediate interaction with millions by a single click and influences the products and services of companies globally. A single negative comment with a hashtag associated with a company can have catastrophic consequences for that company or organization. #MyNYPD is no exception. The opposite can happen in a positive way as well. If someone posts #BringBackOurGirls, you know it is in response to the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria, in the hopes of their safe return to their families.  People are influenced by what is associated with a hashtag and movements can be started to bring about change and/or inform the world about events occurring everywhere.

Twitter and Facebook made all the difference for those wanting to inform the world about what was really happening in Ukraine. Just take a look at theses graphs to see the impact regarding the Ukrainian protests.

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 11.14.51 PM

(Facebook activity on public pages related to Ukrainian protests)

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(Ukrainian protests tweets by language)

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 11.13.56 PM

(Ukrainian protests and creation of new twitter accounts)

So we became informed about the protests in Ukraine overnight, but hashtags and emerging media can make you dislike a product/service/organization. Here are few mess ups companies created for themselves making people think twice about purchasing something from them ever again. A hashtag turned negative is a “hashtag.” McDonald’s had this happen to them with #McDStories. McDonalds was hoping that the hashtag would inspire heart-warming stories about Happy Meals. Instead, it attracted snarky tweeps and McDonald’s detractors who turned it into a #bashtag to share their #McDHorrorStories.

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 11.16.32 PM

If you came across these tweets, you really may not want to be patron of the Golden Arches ever again. Hashtags have a very interesting role in the emerging media world and the influence they have on the day to day lives of people is surely something to talk about. #hashtaginfluence

Until next time,



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