[Note: for those who prefer only the essential details, there’s a “TL;DR” section if you scroll down.]
RE: Operation Hashtag Rainboom
My fellow bronies,
Over the last few weeks, a number of fans on Twitter have been discussing the possibility of getting an MLP-related hashtag trending. (For those of you don’t know, a hashtag that’s trending is one of the most widely used on Twitter at that moment.) Various suggestions were made about how to accomplish this (and what tag to use), but as we were coming to a consensus, one of our number tweeted at the official @MyLittlePony account, and got this reply. In other words, things suddenly got real: official MLP folks want us to give it a try this Saturday the 24th with the hashtag #MyLittlePony. The question thus becomes, how can we be successful?
It’s actually not as tricky as it sounds. The precise algorithm Twitter uses to determine whether something is trending is a secret, but in general terms, it’s a matter of a certain number of users making a certain number of tweets, over a certain window of time, across a certain diversity of geography. Let’s take that point by point.
1. The number of users:
The most reliable data I could find suggested that about 500 users tweeting a hashtag is the minimum number required for the tag to stand a chance of trending. This may seem like a large number, but consider that the @EquestriaDaily account currently has about 3,034 followers. Even if, say, 25% of those are bots, that’s still about 2276 users. It’s safe to say that the vast majority of these remaining 2276 are bronies, but if only 50% of those bronies are active on Twitter, that’s still 1138 potential users – more than enough for our purposes.
2. The number of tweets:
More important than the total number of users in getting a hashtag to trend is the total number of tweets using that hashtag. Estimates seem to range between 2000 and 3000 tweets. Again, that may sound like a lot, but with 1138 users, that’s only about 2 to 3 each. Even with only the minimum 500 users, 3000 tweets is still only 6 tweets per person, and critically, that’s over a certain time window.
3. The time window:
The figures above – the required number of users and tweets – are specific to a certain six-hour period of the day (from 3am to 9am EST, in fact). (EST is currently GMT-5.) Luckily for us, this particular period actually requires the least number of users and tweets compared with the rest of the day, but we stand a better chance of the hashtag trending if its usage builds up over a shorter period than that. The 4 hour stretch from 6:00am to 10:00am EST seems best, since it covers the hours leading up to the episode, the episode itself, and the immediate aftermath. (This window does spill over into the next six-hour block, but the required numbers there are still well within our range.) It’s very important we pace ourselves, and as time ticks down to the show’s airing, the frequency of tweets should naturally pick up steam, which works to our advantage.
4. The geographic diversity:
We’ve got this one locked. There are bronies all across the world, in many countries and in many timezones. I’ve had the chance to interact with several of them on Twitter, and they’ve already pledged their support. As an example, Germany is at GMT+1 (6 hours ahead of EST), so 6:00am EST is 12:00pm for them. As a result, if enough international bronies participate, hashtag usage will begin in the east and gradually build up as the day continues and more westerly folks wake up; we (and more importantly, Twitter) will see a global progression of usage moving from east to west, which is vital to our success.
The TL;DR (oh, how I loathe that phrase) version of the above:
– We’re trying to get the hashtag #MyLittlePony trending on Twitter.
– There are more than enough bronies on Twitter to accomplish this.
– Said bronies can generate more than enough tweets.
– The window for the push will come between 6:00am and 10:00am EST (GMT-5) on Saturday the 24th.
– The more bronies across the world who participate, the better our chances.
– Again, the tag to use is #MyLittlePony. Don’t forget the # sign. There was lengthy discussion about what tag to use (#mlpfim was another possibility, since it’s shorter), but ultimately #MyLittlePony won out, mainly because the meaning is clearer to non-fans, and because it’s what the official account threw its weight behind. So, #MyLittlePony it is.
– EST is currently GMT-5. Adjust forward or back as needed for your particular timezone.
– It’s better to have a large number of users making a few tweets than a few users making hundreds.
– Retweets help, but contribute your own thoughts.
– Choose your tweets carefully. Don’t stick the tag on every single one. Make it count.
– DO NOT use the tag more than once in the same tweet. Doing so would actually harm our chances of success.
– Build up your usage of the tag over the 4 hour period.
– Keep it clean and friendly. We’re trying to attract the world’s attention – we owe it to the show and the whole fan community to present ourselves in the best possible light.
Onwards To Victory!
One may fairly ask the question, “Why bother?” There are any number of good reasons: because @MyLittlePony asked us to; because it’s a sign of our affection and respect for the show and its creators; because it might help attract new viewers and potential bronies. Above all, though, it demonstrates once again that when we work as a community towards a goal – whether it’s something big or small, profound or silly – there’s nothing we can’t achieve together.
We can do this, so please help get the word out. Reblog it here; tweet about it; post about it on Facebook; text it to your friends. Send a telegram. Hire a skywriter. Break out the semaphore flags. Do whatever you can do to get people involved. And then, on Saturday the 24th, from 6:00am to 10:00am EST, get on Twitter and talk about the show we all love.
We can do this, so let’s get this done.
Be excellent to each other,
P.S. Though I recognize it’s an intrinsically male-inflected term, I use the term “brony” here (and everywhere else) in a gender-neutral fashion. I emphasize that all fans of MLP of any gender are invited and urged to participate.
P.P.S. While I’m confident we can accomplish this on Saturday the 24th, even if we do prove unsuccessful (which I don’t believe we will be for a moment), we’ve an entire season to keep on trying – so don’t get discouraged. That said, let’s aim to make this happen on the 24th, as requested by the Powers That Be.
P.P.P.P.S. Many other #twitterbronies contributed their thoughts and ideas to this campaign – too many to list here, but their contributions cannot be overstated. I’m simply the messenger. Major kudos go out to all of them. Thanks, folks. :)
P.P.P.P.P.S. If you made it this far I probably owe you a drink, but I hope you’ll settle for a “thank you”. Thank you. :)
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