April 9 is closing. I just checked Twitter and see a Tweet from 38 minutes ago lamenting the death of Cher using the hashtag #nowthatcherisdead. There were many confirmed reports from reliable sources that Margaret Thatcher had passed. Other than Twitter, there were no reports of the death of Cher. We looked at the extent of this Twitter conversation and its impacts resulting from the ensuing confusion around the hashtag and who had really died as well as several takeaways.
One clear lesson that should be learned is to fact check before you make comments or become emotionally involved in a nonexistent situation. Another is the ongoing very real importance of careful hashtag selection. When the news first appeared, it seemed only a few people were confused. However, not only were quite a few people confused, the confusion has become a larger story on Twitter than the death of Margaret Thatcher. The numbers is blue indicate the number of times a Tweet was retweeted.
Hashtags such as #facepalm are being used, lending a somewhat derogatory tone to the conversation. #facepalm is highlighted in blue below.
And despite Margaret Thatcher’s passing, the word cloud shows conversation became more focused on the confusion around Cher’s assumed death.
When you have news to share, be sure to carefully select and use hashtags or your the conversation you would like to share may take on a life of its own and turn into something else altogether.