Cincinnati OH – In 2017, the state of Ohio had the second-highest rate of opioid-related deaths in the U.S., with 39.2 deaths per 100,000 persons and 4,293 reported deaths in total. And while there’s certainly nothing funny about that, wait… We forgot where we were going with this (man, sincerity is tiring). Oh, that’s right, #hashtags. It’s not unusual for social action groups to utilize #hashtags to propel a movement forward, and Cincinnati’s substance prevention community is no exception. Unfortunately, Cincinnati Car Dealers seem to be caught in the crossfire as a result of the hashtag being used.
It deserves to be said that #ShutDownCincinnatiDealers was created with the most noble of intentions. According to its creator, Katya Potter, the goal was to empower members of Cincinnati’s drug-afflicted communities to identify local drug dealers, making them visible to law enforcement and accountable for their harmful trades.
But, let’s be honest: social media doesn’t exactly encourage independent, well-informed thought. Facebook, for example, is a breeding ground for misinterpretation and misuse of existing content, uninvested support through viral sharing and virtue signaling, faux-emotional backlash, and an awkward insight into just how awful of people your aging relatives really are. Most of us don’t need examples to understand just how harmful social media content can be (especially during a presidential race), but – for the sake of this story – let’s look at how easily Potter’s anti-drug movement was misappropriated by the masses.
An analysis of #ShutDownCincinnatiDealers across multiple social media platforms indicates that only 29.4% of posts contributed to the original goal. Those posts and tweets from empowered civilians were intended to expose the various branches of Cincinnati’s opioid distribution. However, 17.1% consisted of angry tweets and posts directed at the staff of Ohio’s various casinos by people who might be best described as ‘losers’ both inside and outside of the gaming context. And a confusing 11.3% was directed at ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ host Wayne Brady (coincidentally, a native of Columbus, GA, not Columbus, OH) for reasons unknown.
Which leaves 42.2% (the majority) levied against Cincinnati-based car dealerships by dissatisfied customers. And, because most people are blindly-led lemmings and/or over-sharing morons, each rant gained immediate traction through social media engagement, sharing, and retweets.
“Misery loves company,” explains Landon Liu-Shea, General Manager of Cincinnati Kia. “And Social Media gives us an immediate platform with a built-in, biased audience. All it takes is one person to share a negative sentiment – about anything – and their base of supporters, friends, family, co-workers, and attention-hungry acquaintances will back them up as if immediately absolved of their own opinion. At Cincinnati Kia, we fully understand how badly our brand sucks. But we don’t need some random, vague-booking attention case tagging our dealership in a post about it just so that her meth-addicted cousin and all of her junkie friends can share it in a fit of fake outrage. I mean, if you want to see how badly a Kia sucks, come and take a test drive. But at least make up your own mind.”
It remains to be seen just how damaging #ShutDownCincinnatiDealers will be in the long run. But on a related note, help us to spread the word #TeenVapingLeadsToKia