In this week’s readings and my own research, I found many examples of hash tag fails.  I thought it might be useful to break it down into three categories.

Category 1: The Hijacked Hash Tag


Also known as the ‘What were they thinking’ hash tag fail because these examples were so obviously in poor taste.  This category is all about abusing a trending hash tag to promote an unrelated topic.


fail1 fail2


Category 2: The Unintended Consequences Hash Tag


This is where the development and/or use of a hash tag has unintended consequences and highlights the fact that companies can’t always control the direction a particular conversation takes on Twitter.

Examples could be the McDonald’s #McDStories example where people tweeted in stories “better left untold” about the fast food giant, or Wendy’s #Wheresthebeef example which garnered some pretty obscene tweets.


Yet another example could be desert company Entenmann’s #NotGuilty hast tag which unfortunately came out the same time of the not guilty verdict for Casey Antony.


Category 3: The Imposter Hash Tag


Taken directly from this week’s readings, a prime example could be the article about Western Kentucky University and the wku/(hash)wku hash tags.  This hash tag fail in particular I think raises a few questions:

1) Which is the bigger problem: not zealously guarding your brand through your hash tag or overcompensating and making a mountain out of a mole hill?

2) Is the fact that it is a University the problem?  In other words a university is supposed to be a bastion of free speech and creative expression – does that make it less OK for Western Kentucky to take action that might be construed a cooling free speech than say, a corporate entity like McDonald’s?

Finally please let me know if you find other examples of hash tag fails that do not fit into one of the three categories I have identified.


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