by Emilee, Megan, Jeremy, Lidia, and Jocelyn
The first ever hashtag was used in 2007 and the phenomenon has grown exponentially ever since. One of the most interesting uses for hashtags in recent years has been the integration with traditional media and television in particular.
In February of 2012, the scifi show Fringe was on the verge of cancellation. Fans were upset and and launched a social media campaign to save their favorite show. Each week they created a new hashtag based on the week’s most recent episode, with #BeABetterMan being the most successful. In five weeks, the campaign had racked up over 100,000 tweets. The campaign was successful and the show ran for at least one more season.
A similar thing happened recently with NBC’s new show Hannibal. The show did not have the best ratings for it’s second season and was also on the brink of cancellation. Fans launched a hashtag campaign across multiple social media platforms, mainly Twitter and Tumblr. The #eattherude campaign was so significant that the show’s creator, Bryan Fuller, took notice and took it to the head of NBC and was able to get the show renewed for a third season.
NBC’s The Voice uses hashtag campaigns in a different way. During the show, viewers can tweet using particular hashtags to instantly save their favorite contestant from being kicked off the show. Other reality competitions have started to adopt this model, as well, but The Voice has definitely been the most successful so far.