#dontreadthedailymail Day started out as an attempt to parody those well-intended but ultimately futile Twitter protests which happen on a daily basis. #TwitterSilence was my main aim – a valid statement but executed poorly and with a terrifying backlash. I thought that a campaign to ignore something that my audience already ignored, and in doing so draw more attention to it reflected quite well the ultimately futile nature of social media protest. I also quite liked that, as with #TwitterSilence, the very nature of the campaign meant I couldn’t be an active participant in it.
I thought the idea was valid, though. The Mail has a reach and reputation far exceeding what it deserves, and much of that is from angry liberals like me pushing it out into the world. I’m always far happier when not thinking about it, so everyone else probably is too. I figured that trying to have a nicer day was a innovative twist on the general opposition to the Mail that usually exists on social media.
September 24th is not only the 3rd birthday of the account, but also my own birthday. If it all went horribly wrong I could have at least taken solace in the joke of having done all of this just to get a day off. I honestly didn’t know how it was going to go – die a death, trend all day, cause a backlash, give the DM more hits or provoke debate. It could have just been very meh and gone largely unnoticed.
In the end I think it went pretty well – the website got nearly 6000 views across the 23rd and 24th and we trended the topic a couple of times too. There was plenty of action on the hashtag from people who didn’t follow me, and I only picked up about 50 new followers which suggests it was seen as a Twitter thing and not a DMReporter thing.
There was a minor backlash of outrage that we appeared to be telling people how to live their lives, which was inevitable, and a huge number of people pointing out that the Mail was more prominent in their feeds as a result of the hashtag, which is something you just can’t avoid. We had some much appreciated tweets or RT’s from Mark Gatiss, Rufus Hound, Robert Llewellyn and the masterful Annabel Giles who helped push up the awareness.
Props must go to Daily Mail showbiz reporter Emma Lowe for being cool about the day, and for actually defending it on Facebook.
In retrospect I think a 7 day lead in was too long as it fatigued the idea and that the ‘dontread’ part of the hashtag was too negative and didn’t push the idea across properly. Maybe next year I’ll change it to ‘ignorethedailymail’ instead.
I doubt very much that it had much of an effect on the Mail’s click rate for the day – either positive or negative. I have no idea how you would harvest that information anyway, but if anyone on the inside is privy to it then get in touch. Anonymity guaranteed.
Affecting the click rate wasn’t the main point anyway; the intention was to give people a nicer day by reducing the Mail’s digital reach and if you feel that your day was a little more cheerier and a little less provocative then I’d consider it a win. Lots of people are saying so on Twitter, and that’s always nice to read.
I’ve Storified some of the best tweets here and if you took part yesterday, in any capacity, then thank you. I’m thinking the next campaign should be encourage Lauren Laverne to follow me again. Come back Lauren, I’m sorry for the joke about the Sunderland unemployed, I miss you…
Until next year.
PS: The Short List had a good little feature on the hashtag, you can read it here: http://www.shortlist.com/cool-stuff/the-twitter-index-15