Unless you are totally not interacting with social media, if you does, you probably had heard before hashtag. Hashtag starts with the symbol ‘#’. Hashtag became clickable in 2009, which allows user to redirect to a link with all related content with the hashtag.
Studies shows that 70% consumers are motivated to explore new content when hashtags are present. Recently Instagram updates and added a new feature, which allows its users to follow a particular hashtag.
Alright, so what is Bashtag.
Official definition from Wikitionary is a ‘Noun in Internet, a hashtag used to criticize something, especially one that was intended for promotional use but repurposed by users to criticize that which it was intended to promote, or make the opposite point.’
From my point of view it is just a term used when the intended positive purpose hashtag goes viral but in the opposite side. When using social media, always remember things can’t be predicted 100%. If you search through the internet I bet you can find lots of failure examples while using hashtag as marketing or PR purpose.
When Hashtag become Bashtag.
As hashtag become more and more popular, many social media platforms are adopting this new culture and technology. Lots of marketing and PR team also keep an eye on this trend. They use hashtag to start campaign or activity and try to build positive image of their respective company or host.
Well, what happens when hashtag become bashtag? A very typical answer is that it will cause bad image or bad reputation, or in another word in the opposite way of original intention.
There are plenty of examples of hashtag become bashtag such as: Coca Cola #MakeItHappy. NYPD’s #myNYPD that actually wants members of the public to post their selfies with New York police officers and tag them with the hashtag but in the end become a bashtag to spread police violence. McDonald’s, Eat Your Heart Out #McDStories, that actually wants its user to share about their experience having McDonald, but end up become a bashtag of sharing about negative information about McDonald.
In conclusion, when hashtag become bashtag it could be a loss of a person image or company image depends of what the hashtag represents.
Here are some examples of hashtag became into bashtag:
Images Taken by Brayansong
A hashtag could go viral but in a wrong way either because of the strategy is bad or because of intentional activity. This type of activity is dubbed as hashtag hijacking. Hijacking a hashtag could cause a hashtag become a bashtag, like mentioned above. There are two main types hashtag hijacking, first is to troll or to seek attention second is to intentionally cause damage to one’s image. These two types of hashtag hijacking can be done by spamming big amounts of hashtags with intentional purpose messages which are different from the actual original hashtag messages resulting the original messages to go down. Here’s an article about how to hijack hashtags.
Recently BBC News report that a journal infiltrate into black market and try to ask about how much is to make a fake trend in a country. The full news is in here It now just only talks about how much is to make a fake trend on Twitter. The strategy to make a fake trend on Twitter involves hashtaging and bashtaging. The unbelievable fact is that, in order to fake a trend in one country it only cost £150.
#myNYPD goes viral at moment it is proposed, but in a wrong way. #myNYPD first founded in April 2014, main purpose is to invite people to tweet pictures of their dealings with ‘New York’s finest’ in Twitter.
However, rather posting good selfies with New York Police Officers, people used this hashtag to post about violence caused by New York Police Officers. The Guardian report that on April 23, 2014 there are more than 70,000 people tweeted about brutality including recalling the names of people shot dead by police.
NYPD tried their best to make the best of a botched job by retweeting all the favourable photos.
From my point of view although this hashtag had gone viral in a wrong way and in the end, became a bashtag, it stills reflects a problem of the society.
Hashtag is something that can’t be stop or shutdown as it had already become a culture and will constantly be spreading once it is founded.
Share with me your thought, do you agree hashtag campaign can be success? Or one bashtag you know and do you think bashtag or hashtag will cause social impact?