Twitter can be a vicious platform. This was never so clear to me as it was last week with the announcement that Paula Deen has Type 2 diabetes. There was so much hate, anger, judgment and mean spiritedness attached to the #PaulaDeen hashtag, I had to remove the column from my TweetDeck even though I was trying to follow the story.
As the Paula Deen backlash lessened a bit, the Twitterverse turned it’s focus toward McDonalds when the fast food company started the #McDStories hashtag on Jan. 18 with this tweet.
Twitter hashtags are created with the express purpose of hoping that other Twitter users catch on and use it to create a conversation about the topic. Twitter users caught on all right, but not in the way that I imagine McDonald's wanted them to.
Instead of getting heartfelt stories of memories of McDonald’s, they ended up with hundreds of Tweets like this one.
And this one.
Obviously, those comments aren't what McDonald's was hoping to get, but they're similar to many of the comments it got.
From a PR perspective, the #McDStories was a supersized disaster, but I doubt it will stop the average McDonald's patron from eating there. Most of the negative tweets have stopped, and the majority of tweets using the hashtag are pointing to stories about the disaster (kind of like this story) and what can be learned from it.
The people writing the negative tweets probably don’t eat the food there to begin. I can't imagine anyone that does eat at McDonald's seeing one of the negative comments and changing their mind about eating there. I could be wrong.
Do you think that backlash like this actually makes a difference in public perception, or do you think it's just a way for people to vent their opinions?