The Ugly on Hashtags

Hey folks! Hope your turkey day was a success!


So we’ve talked about the good, and we’ve talked about the bad and how to turn it into a positive. Now here’s a case study of the ugly. I found this article on Digg, that linked through to Ad Age, about this woman in Pennsylvania who gave birth and abandoned her baby in a sports bar’s toilet. As if this wasn’t ugly enough, Nancy Grace had reported the story, and provided on-screen the hashtag #ToiletBaby. This is definitely an example of when hashtagging can go wrong.

But the real question is, did it? Another article on Social News Daily claims that Nancy continued to use the hashtag on Twitter a total of nine times, which begs the question, did Nancy and her team know what they were doing when they sparked controversy over this poor baby’s death? And why, after many complaints from their viewers, did they continue to use the offensive hashtag?

So even though the hashtag itself was wrong on a lot of levels, was it intentional? Controversy can be the quickest and easiest way to get a boost of attention to your Twitter page, especially if you already have a high number of followers. With shows like Nancy Grace, whose whole premise is drama and controversy, can this help to drive more followers to her Twitter page and TV show? This case follows the motto “any publicity is good publicity”, and it seems the Nancy Grace team were willing to do anything to gain more media attention, even if it meant exploiting a child’s death.

The problem with this type of sensationalism (other than that it’s disgusting) is that it’s short-lived and it leaves a negative impression with your followers. This #ToiletBaby trend got Nancy Grace a lot of attention, but I’m sure as more and more of these things happen on her media outlets,  less and less people will see her as a credible news source and will begin to lose interest in what she actually has to say.


4 responses to “The Ugly on Hashtags

  1. Hi,

    I think you’re right that Nancy Grace’s hashtag for this poor baby is disgusting. I think she knew exactly what she did, I think her goal was to get people talking about it and for her to gain as much social media attention as she could and by doing this and she did. I think this drove more people to her site because of her hashtag, it created a public outcry and people wanted to discuss this topic because of the tragedy.

  2. Hey,
    Great post, I have to agree with Kiran I think Nancy knew exactly what she was doing when she reported the story and hashtaged it, and it’s sickening. The motto “any publicity is good publicity” is complete bs I think and should not be the motto for any credible and professional reporter/journalist. If that’s Nancy motto then she’s no better then the slim who write the garbage they put in tabloids.

  3. Great post! I completely agree that the online life cycle and profile of these hashtag offenders has a limit. I can picture Nancy’s boss in the background saying something like “don’t you dare stop using that hashtag…look at all the response we are getting.”
    There will always be people exploiting others to get a buzz…online and off.

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