The majority of us love Twitter, but hashtags must be one of the most annoying fads in social media’s short history. Putting one at the end of a tweet as a desperate attempt to either create a new trending topic or jump on another bandwagon lost its ironic humour very quickly. However, it’s fun to laugh when they go wrong.
Twitter users across the world will recognise this, an ill-informed attempt at promotion for soprano Susan Boyle’s album launch in 2012. Whichever junior marketer thought this up was either completely innocent or just hadn’t taken the time to read how the words would appear when conjoined. Queue worldwide toilet humour.
Although they don’t always spell out a rather disgusting mental image, hashtags can be trouble in other ways. McDonalds executives were looking for heart-warming memories of burgers shared with family. What they got was ridicule from all sides, with negative posts like this clogging the search: “My dad used to take us to McDonalds as a treat. Now he is obese and has diabetes. #McDstories”
A survivor from the list of the ‘World’s worst domain names’ which has been meme-worthy since the web began. Although the double entendre was spotted long before Twitter started up, new generations are revisiting it as a hashtag; it has become a byword for nonsensical japes on Instagram – which also uses a hashtag system – and became a meme within social network Badoo.
When you have dragged your country into a war that most of them wanted no part of as well as plunging them into a recession, it’s a bad idea to open up questions from the floor. Last year ex-Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair launched this hashtag expecting serious political debate. At worst he received accusations of tax fraud and weakness; at best, ‘David Cameron’ asking how to unclog the Downing Street toilet.
Peter Jackson’s recent movie epic The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was one of the biggest films of 2012, enjoying box office success across the globe. It even did well in Switzerland, either thanks to or in spite of a poorly thought out hashtag campaign. It combined the shortened name of the film with Switzerland’s domain extension .ch to staggering effect. Of course, it was trending within minutes.