Yesterday, the news media was a flutter with the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. As expected people took to social media to discuss her past and her legacy.
As people started using Twitter and GooglePlus, (both social media properties encourage the use of hashtags), an interesting hashtag emerged that caused a certain level of confusion and a lot of unnecessary stress. It was so obvious a social media blunder, which caused a huge reaction, news organizations around the world started reporting on the outcry surrounding the hashtag as part of their Margaret Thatcher coverage.
What sort of hashtag could cause such an uproar? Simply this; #nowthatcherisdead. A tag created to celebrate the occasion of Lady Thatcher’s passing. The problem wasn’t that people were angry others would celebrate the death of a political icon, the problem was that some people thought a different sort of celebrity had passed.
When it comes to creating hashtags, Digital Always Media’s 101 Social Media Workshops address and stress need to capitalize the first letter of the each unique word in a multi-worded Hashtag.
Why should you capitalize the first letter of each unique word in a multi-worded hashtag?
#nowthatcherisdead was intended to represents #NowThatcherIsDead. Unfortunately, many misread it as #NowThatCherIsDead.
This misunderstanding put Cher fans into a frenzy and was widely reported around the world, including this piece from the UK Mail Online, “How horrified CHER fans thought their idol was dead after Thatcher critics started #nowthatcherisdead hashtag on Twitter“.
Now think what could happen to your organization when you create a clever hashtag for a marketing program. When people see it, where might people put the capitalization? What other words might they come up with?
The use of hashtags is going to grow as other online social properties (possibly including Facebook according to recent rumours) start embracing hashtags as way to group conversations to make searching those conversations more effective.
It’s time that your social marketing team learn to use hashtags and other social media tools correctly, if only to avoid possible misunderstandings and potential marketing disasters.