Personal Growth

Red flag meme gets MTV dragged on Twitter

Anyone who has laid eyes on Twitter today is probably seeing red.

Red flag tweets have exploded over the past 36 hours, courtesy of the suddenly less problematic social media platform’s latest craze.

It’s difficult to locate patient zero in the meme, but among the earliest popular examples, via BuzzFeed, emerged on Monday afternoon.

Pretty soon, Twitter users were erupting with examples of things that they simply could not accept in potential friends, lovers, and business partners.

The trend proved so broadly popular that not even a tweet from Twitter itself on Tuesday afternoon could stanch the flow of red flag tweets, including some from extremely cool publications.

Politicians used the format to make political points.

Not everyone quite understood how best to use the red flag meme, like Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida, whose misguided tweet scanned to the uninitiated as a full-throated endorsement of the state’s controversial governor, Ron DeSantis.

Of course, leave it to brands to misuse memes most egregiously.

Once the format took off, every social media manager at every company seemed to be under legal requirement to put out a red flag tweet, whether witty or not.

It would be a stretch to call any of the above tweets “inspired,” exactly, but the good news is that they don’t need to be. Participating in the fun little game everyone on Twitter seems to be doing is enough to stay in the conversation. One brand, however, chose to put out a red flag tweet that is so tone-deaf and so utterly lacking in self-awareness that it quickly became the most dragged brand tweet in the entire red flag sweepstakes.

Certainly, there was once a time when this tweet would be representative of MTV’s actual vibe. Whether read as a dig at musical snobbishness, or at those who are simply out of the loop, it’s the kind of statement fit for a mainstream hub of the music world.

But MTV has not been that for a long time. At some point in the past five years or so, MTV became almost exclusively the home of Rob Dyrdek’s viral video show, Ridiculousness.

People who grew up on MTV have long been upset about the network’s gradual decline into a musical dead zone with one strangely popular export. The network’s red flag tweet gave those folks a perfect excuse to vent about it.

Fast Company could post more of these tweets, as there are certainly enough to go around, but you get the point. All people want from brand tweets, if they want anything at all, is humor and authenticity. MTV could have done both with a red flag tweet, perhaps, if it had instead written, “I don’t keep up with Ridiculousness.”

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