Never mix your hashtags

Today is pancake day and people will be making a huge mess in their kitchens with eggs, flour and milk.

Elsewhere, there will be people feeling alone and suicidal. These two facts coexist in our mixed up, multifaceted world. People enjoying themselves. People alone and in despair.

But when I saw a list of hashtags at the end of a single tweet that went:

suicideprevention, shrovetuesday, mentalhealth, pancakeday

I did a little shudder.

I can’t see the sense in it. Just because two situations coexist, it doesn’t mean we should mix them up online. The motivation is obvious: find a national day, a massive global event, something everyone is talking about, and hop on.

So do we just grab any trending hashtag and attach our cause to it?

It can look a bit ridiculous, don’t you think?

And that’s a shame, because obviously #suicideprevention is massively important and pancake day (no hashtag!) is a fun family occasion.

I can see that it’s really important for mental health campaigners to get their message out there, and using the correct hashtags is all part of it.

But let’s avoid being too transparent in our aim. Less is more, and piggybacking on topics that have no relevance to your cause can look really daft and weaken your message.

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