Risky Hashtags (#OzsInbox) – Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of November 17, 2014)


Social Media Gone Wrong
Social Media Gone Wrong: http://www.pinterest.com/rosefirerising/social-media-gone-wrong/

Recently, there seems to be a rash of examples of social media gone wrong. Last weekend, it was the Facebook post by a GOP communications staffer criticizing the way President Obama’s children dress.

The weekend before that it was Bill Cosby’s new meme generator, which was promptly used by the public to comment on his presumed sexual practices.

Before that, it was Dr. Oz’s request for health questions he could discuss on the show. That didn’t go so well, either.

There are several more examples along these lines, many including hashtags that have been misappropriated by the audience. Evidently the audiences weren’t quite what was expected by the companies creating the hashtags for their marketing campaigns. The Cosby example was one of those, with #CosbyMeme. The Dr. Oz example is another. He used the hashtag #ozsinbox. Some folk read it as #OzsInbox, but others read it as #OzSinBox. Oops.

Since the HOTW series focuses on hashtags, I thought it would be appropriate to spend a little bit of time talking about how hashtags can go astray. At the same time, I don’t want to scare people away from using Twitter, so there will be a “part two” that talks more about how to use and choose Twitter hashtags to support your real goal. It does take a little advance thought and preparation, but done well, hashtags can be an amazingly powerful and useful way to get your message out and engage with people who are also passionate about it.

For now, just a few tips and thoughts about what happened with Dr. Oz.

TIP ONE: Do you REALLY want to do a Q&A?

The CDC routinely does Twitter chats with Q&As on emerging health topics. They did one recently on Ebola, for example. This is obviously a good thing, and a great way to let people say what worries them and then respond directly from experts with high quality authoritative health information. Don’t give up entirely on Q&As just because of this. But consider, there is a pattern of high profile people offering to do a Q&A and being targeted by those who don’t like them, who then take over the stream. I’ve done Twitter live interviews, but I’m not actually important or famous on the scale of either the CDC or Dr. Oz. So, before you offer to do a Q&A, think about reputation, context, and if you just want attention or actually have something of value to contribute. If you just want attention, are you alright with it not being good attention? Because that sometimes happens. People will tell you exactly what they really think of you, if that’s what you want.

TIP TWO: If doing a Q&A, try to imagine the kinds of questions you might get. Then ask a few friends. Then ask a few enemies. Then ask a half dozen teen age boys.

TIP THREE: Brainstorm alternate spellings & interpretations of the chosen hashtag

TIP FOUR: Are you OK with humor? How will you respond to folk joking around?

TIP FIVE: Consider your partners & employers. How does what you say & do reflect on them?

TIP SIX: What should you do if it all goes cockeyed?

This.

THOUGHT ONE: Reputation & Professionalism

There are a lot of doctors who gleefully tromped all over Dr. Oz, given this opportunity to do so. That set a kind of example. There were a few people who tried to say that they knew Dr. Oz before he was a media star, and that deep down there is a good doctor somewhere under all the hype. Those people were placing themselves at risk if they tried to defend him. Some media sources described the frenzy around the hashtag as being dominated by trolls.

Even if you completely believe that Dr. Oz is a horrible person who has lost his way in the maze of popular pseudoscience, if you entertain yourself by trashing him in a situation like this, how does that make YOU look? Is that the person you want to be? How does this make the profession appear? When doctors get snarky, does healthcare get a pie in the eye? It sets an example for the public when doctors trash each other. That might be a good thing, or it might not. I’m not sure yet. And remember, what you say can be misunderstood just as badly as anything said by anyone.

Dr. Pav Khaira has a background image on his page saying, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” Obviously, he has a good heart, and means well, but is also willing to poke fun with the best of them.

Who is Dr. Nick?

Dr. Sunil K Sahai was fairly new to Twitter when this came up. He came to regret what was intended as a funny tweet, and blogged about what he should have said instead, and how.

Dr. Jen Gunter became something of a folk hero among the Twitter healthcare community for this cogent post, and a few others.

More health care folk and what they think about Dr. Oz.

Doctors In Oz

OTHER TWEETS

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Want more? Here are the statistics, metrics, and more tweets.

#OzsInBox Begins

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