I have never set fashions and I never follow them either but today myself and a group of bloggers and writers about Spain (We have a Facebook group you know ) managed to create a trend.
We managed to get #SpainIs… Trending on Twitter, second place in Spain only beaten by an idiot politician opening her mouth and firmly planting both feet in it. The idea of the hashtag was to accentuate the positive stories that are coming out of Spain rather than having to put up with the constant stream of drivel and negativity that normally passes for news about Spain.
And guess what, it worked really well.
For about an hour.
Then it became a trending topic. Now when something becomes a trending topic, spammers jump on it, haters start hating and it gets away from the original intention. Luckily I had warned all of the people involved in making it trend that this would happen. I knew it would. It always does with trending topics.
What I didn’t expect however was what happened next. There was almost a single dividing line directly between two languages. Almost all of the tweets in English were positive as was the original intention of the hashtag. However almost 100% of the tweets in Spanish were negative and mostly from young people, that is to be expected as twitter is used by the young more than the old. However the vitriol, hate and disenchantment with their own country was amazing. There were some excellent tweets and very good points made about the corruption, the politicians and more but that wasn’t the intention of the hashtag. We just wanted for one day to have positivity about Spain.
The funniest thing of course is that I have found myself aligned to fascists and Falangists all over Spain using the hashtag as a nationalist campaign to praise Franco, which couldn’t be further from my mind.
What I have liked though is that a lot of Spanish people have actually noticed this difference and started questioning their own countrymen and women. The tweets mentioning that all foreigners seem to love Spain and all Spaniards seem to hate the country have been mounting in the last couple of hours. If this acts as a point of inflection for those bad mouthing their own country on twitter and other social media it will be a good thing. However don’t hold your breath.
It seems to me that the situation in Spain is perceived by the young people as so bad now that they have nothing good left to say. And that will only hurt they themselves because their negativity will do nothing to raise the country from its sleepwalk into a decade of bad news and cuts. Initiatives like the success of #SpainIs… Where people point out the good points of the country might well do.