AS WELL AS CAUSING an outpouring of grief, vitriol and general controversy, the death of former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher on Monday also managed to highlight the pitfalls of hashtags.
The trending hashtag #nowthatchersdead was read by many Tweeters - well, those who are totally uninformed on news and global events - as announcing the news that Cher is dead, rather than Thatcher is dead, leading to an outpouring of grief for the entertainer.
As soon as reports began to circulate through the Twittersphere that the world had lost a true global icon, a woman who has done as much for fashion as she has for musical invention, Tweeters came out in force to share their grief or just general confusion.
RIP Cher. At least now we'll find out about life after love. #nowthatchersdead— David Itzcovitz (@ItzDaveMedia) April 8, 2013
I note with curiosity that the hashtag #nowthatchersdead is trending from Melbourne to Dublin. I can't confirm anywhere that Cher is dead?— Richie Benaud (@RichieBenaud_) April 8, 2013
The mix-up was finally cleared up by a bemused comedian.
Some people are in a frenzy over the hashtag #nowthatchersdead.It's "Now Thatcher's dead". Not, "Now that Cher's dead" JustSayin'— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 8, 2013
Here at The INQUIRER, we were more concerned that the hashtag related to X-Factor contestant Cher Lloyd. Having long been a fan of tuneless, over-produced noise, The INQUIRER regards Ms Lloyd as one of its favourite performers. Still, seeing that she's only about 12, we hope she'll be around to grace us with her dulcet tones for many decades to come.
We're also hopeful that the #nowthatchersdead debacle and many wasted tears over Cher #1 and #2's passing, will lead to an upsurge in correct use of grammar on all social networks and hashtags. Although this is about as likely to happen as Billy Bragg, Morrissey and Ken Livingstone offering to be Margaret Thatcher's coffin bearers. µ
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