How many Twitter hashtags have we seen hijacked in the past 12 months? Only last month Waitrose fell foul to the Twitter trend of “bashtagging” – users flooding a brand created hashtag with negative comments against the originator.
Last week however the tables were turned on the mischievous Twitterverse as a charity gave users a taste of their own medicine. Campaigners for providing the third world with clean water, “WATERisLIFE”, decided that Twitter users in the #FirstWorldProblems hashtag were taking their lifestyle for granted, and decided to use social media to address the issue.
The Social Media Watchdog blog Social Slurp (created by Blueclaw specialising in Social Media in Leeds) picked up on the campaign last week and explained that the Twitter hashtag #FirstWorldProblems was being used to mock users of their petty concerns that they have in “first world” countries. For example, tweets included:
“I hate it when my phone charger won’t reach my bed #FirstWorldProblems” and “I hate it when my house is so big I need two wireless routers #FirstWorldProblems”
Whilst, the hashtag is clearly meant for humour, WATERisLIFE saw it as a perfect opportunity to highlight whether it was right to actually trivialise the problems of the Third World on Twitter – and hopefully gain some awareness for the real life problems that the Third World suffer everyday.
Social Slurp stated:
“The campaign [By WATERisLIFE] aimed to hijack this hashtag in an attempt to quash the lack of sensitivity shown over serious matters and use social media as a way to solve real life problems.”
WATERisLIFE did this by very quickly putting together a video shot on location in Haiti (where most of the population live on less than $1 a day) and used Haitians who were victims of real “Third World problems” to read out the #FirstWorldProblems tweets. The YouTube video, which has amassed over 1.4 million views in less than two weeks, ends with the somber message that “#FirstWorldProblems, Are Not Problems” and appeals for donations to provide clean water.