Battle of the Corona Trial Hashtags: A Case of #TooManyCoronas

Think of it as the idea of Twitter hashtags gone wild. Twitter hashtags were invented  by the online community (as is the case of many Twitter conventions) , in this case,  by users who wanted a simple way to embed keywords into the Twitter stream, making it easy to search for conversations or topics. (The full first-person account of the invention of hashtags in 2007 is chronicled in this Quora article.)

Originally, hashtags were organically created by the Twitter population to promote certain topics that had become repeated often enough to become part of the current social media zeitgeist.

Today the Twitter hashtag has become a kind of instant brand. TV shows and ad campaigns artificially create their own hashtags and incorporate this into ad campaigns and the corner of the screen of new TV sitcoms (as in “#2BrokeGirls”) in an effort to create their own memes and trending topics.

The hilarity begins when certain groups attempt to “own” a hashtag of a public event through repeated promotion.

The Corona Impeachment trial is an example of a public story that sectors of the news media are now trying to own – using their own brand of Twitter hashtags. It’s classic one up-manship that harkens back to the days of duking it out on news stands. Just as the old print media tried to out-scoop each other in the quest to sell newspapers, new media – which can now encompass everything from independent bloggers to websites of old media establishments – has its own attempts to top each other in the quest to generate eyeballs and pageviews.

Rather than settle on one easy to remember hashtag for the Corona trial, I’ve counted five  different Twitter hashtags.

So far we have:

1. #CJonTrial
2. #CoronaTrial
3. #CJTrialWatch
4. #CJTrial
5. #CJCorona

CJonTrial (i.e. “Chief Justice on Trial” for those of you not hip to current acronyms) is the hashtag being championed by ABS-CBN.

Not surprisingly, GMA News has chosen not to use this hashtag, using instead #CJTrial.

The blog Rappler continues to thumb its nose at old media by using neither, settling on #CoronaTrial instead.

Some independent bloggers follow their own path and are using #CJTrialWatch.

And armchair political analysts retweeting existing articles or typing in their own bon mots are using #CJTrial, and #CJCorona

Prior to the impeachment circus, the word “Corona” on Twitter was mainly used to refer to the Mexican beer. Hence the prior existence of hashtags like #Corona, and #CoronaSunset, which promoted @Cerveza_Corona.

If you ask me, all these competing hashtags are just nullifying each out. When I want to search twitter for news about “Corona Gate”, I ignore these hashtags conventions and just search for the word “Corona”.

Of course, this also turns up all sorts of beer references, but really now, the thought of a Chief Justice racking up luxury condominium purchases left and right is enough to drive a man to drink.

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