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When Hashtags Need A Safety Word….

Today on Twitter a prime example of what happens when a hashtag gets hijacked occurred after Best Selling Author EL James publicity machine thought it would be a great idea for the fans to tweet her some of their questions regarding the 50 Shades series.

As is so often the case, the hashtag also provided critics of the successful series with a platform to ask some more direct questions about James’ opinions on domestic violence, rape and abuse.

While I personally have not read – nor have any interest in reading – the series or the new novel told from Christian Grey’s perspective, it is an excellent example of the danger of using social media as a promotional tool. With no ability to ensure the use of a safety word, it is very easy for brands – and authors – to get tied in knots with no way to stop the onslaught.



But it wasn’t all bad news for the author responsibly for turning Twilight Fan Fiction into a world wide phenomena with many fans and twitter users jumping to her defence.

Whether you agree with James’ trilogy or not, it’s hard to argue that the series has tapped into a market. I’ve lost count of the amount of “50 Shades” rip off’s I’ve seen, the clumsy attempts to tie into the market, I’ve even seen a conference brochure with the tag line “50 shades of EA/PA.” There is nothing inherently evil in literature, and while I admit to a chuckle here or there while reading the hashtag this morning, I can’t help but wonder “When did we all get so caught up in being outraged, we can’t differentiate between fact and fiction?”


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