Twitter spells disaster for Maldives tourism campaign
13 July 2012
The Maldives tourist authority’s latest Twitter campaign has been hi-jacked by residents jumping on the opportunity to highlight problems facing the country.
The campaign, originally intended to promote the country as an island paradise using the hashtag #SunnySideofLife, was instead overrun by the microblog’s users tweeting about the country’s human rights situation, political illegitimacy and police brutality.
VisitMaldives.com initially used the hashtag to post links to resorts and promote the level of tourism that the country enjoys. Instead of users tweeting their positive experiences with the country, large numbers instead responded with angry messages of their own and caused #SunnySideofLife to trend globally.
A lot of the tweets were critical of the current government which replaced President Mohamed Nasheed, reportedly at gunpoint, in February. Some users also posted pictures of alleged victims of police brutality with the campaign’s hashtag attached.
Nasheed recently urged a boycott against travelling to the island in an interview with the Financial Times following the regime change. The Twitter campaign is part of the Maldives’ 2012 tourism objective to attract 1 million visitors.
Earlier this year McDonald’s faced a deluge of angry Twitter users with its #McDStories campaign. Instead of people sharing their positive stories about the fast food chain as intended, it led to vast numbers of stories about people’s negative experiences being shared.
David Hing, London