Social media has many unique attributes and capabilities, but they are not always positive. Once an idea spreads through a social network, it has the chance to go very big very fast.
Comic book writer and artist Rick Remender can vouch for this aspect of social media, as a hashtag almost brought his lengthy and noteworthy career to a screeching halt.
#FireRickRemender was the hashtag that swept through comic book fans on Twitter, and like a classic Marvel villain it was relentless.
The reason for the uproar was three pages from Captain America #22 which were viewed by one fan as sexist, and involved The Falcon (Captain America’s superhero colleague) having sex with a young woman.
The young female character was said to be 23, but many fans traced her timeline to try to prove that she was much younger.
One passionate fan started the critical maelstorm, and it was discussed for days all over the world on Twitter. It was even picked up by some major news publications.
The passion of fans combined with the open microphone of social media is a powerful cocktail. This is what digital marketers and brand managers everywhere need to understand, be wary of and also leverage for their own use.
Social media might have gone too far to try to have someone lose their job, without ever having any real conversation or debate about the material in question.
The networks should be used to debate ideas and their validity. A hashtag meant just to get a writer fired might be over-the-top. This happens often and while sometimes it is justified, it feels abrupt.
The power of social media is constantly on display everyday in both small, medium and large examples. This might not be the biggest example with the most dire consequences but it is definitely one to remember. Rick Remender most likely willl.