Do you really want to hear #mystory?

Social media can be hard. Brands and organizations want to use it to have conversations and get shining and unsolicited endorsements from the people who love them best. In light of some recent social media hashtag strategies, it seems that the people in charge of these campaigns have forgotten that in addition to the people who love them, there are also a number of people waiting in the wings to join the conversation that really don’t like them.  As it goes, if a person has a positive experience with something, they’ll tell one person. When that experience leans towards the negative side of the spectrum, they’ll tell ten.

We’ve seen it happen before with #mydunkin and #McDstories, the brainchildren of Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s respectively.  Each campaign was seemingly created to unearth the hidden gems that so many marketers dream about, the stories that our everyday consumer has but never gets a chance to share. Granted, each account did see some of the responses that they hoped for, but the ones that stood out, getting the most attention from the public eye, were the responses that were not so nice.

Can’t really blame them, when the “McD Stories” were as creative as these.

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So it’s no surprise really that we have another organization trying their hand at this hashtag game. This time however, the organization isn’t one that deals in donuts or hamburgers. Instead, it’s a little group that’s only responsible for the safety of 8 million plus people and the overall wellbeing of one of the most well-known cities in the world.

We give you, #myNYPD.

I think any of us could have told you that this wasn’t going to go exactly as planned. It launched on April 22nd with this innocent enough tweet:

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And soon enough, things started to turn ugly.

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My favorite responses to the hashtag are coming from @OccupyWallStreet. Remember what happened during that whole movement? Yeah, they do too. And they’re now using that with the #myNYPD hashtag to completely change the conversation.

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Countless articles have already been written on the backlash that the hashtag is receiving, and the hashtag #myLAPD is being used in a similiar fashion. Hopefully this can be a lesson that’s learned, and not repeated in the future. Once you start the conversation on social media, you don’t get to be in control of the direction it takes.

At the end of the day I guess we should all just be glad we’re not @USAirways…

Emily Brownell 

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