I know that it seemed like last winter barely happened thanks to beautiful weather, but you might remember that in the recent past, winter storms generated hashtags on social media like #SNOMG and #Snowmageddon (a name actually picked by President Obama). Now, the Weather Channel has decided it wants to control the hashtags people use for winter storms. As such, it has decreed it will name all winter storms, claiming it will raise awareness of the storms with consumers (though I think it’s an attempt to raise awareness of its coverage).

So it sounds like an interesting way to engage consumers via social media, right? The problem is that it feels very forced and made up. When hashtags like #SNOMG showed up on Twitter it was because users were controlling the conversation and enjoying it. I suspect that no one will use the storm names, unless it is to mock the names themselves. 

That mocking, has already started rather spontaneously as the AV Club posted an article on it, noticed that one of the names was “KHAN” and the comments immediately filled with sarcastic references to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (among others). It’s a lesson many companies have a hard time learning, you can’t force social media. While you can wind it up, once you send it out into the world it will carve it’s own path. I suspect this attempt will be met with an old standard hashtag on social media: #fail.

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