Three charities have recently used “newsjacking” of a Twitter hashtag  to make their case to London commuters according to the Guardian and I for one am impressed by the creativity they have shown and the confidence to “step on the turf” of a union.

“Newsjacking ” is  the art and science of injecting a different agenda into a breaking news story to generate media coverage and social media engagement.    See here for further info.

Macmillan Cancer, Save the Children and Leonard Cheshire have all made use of the #tubestrike to tell their story in different ways. First off the mark were Macmillan Cancer with this clever Tweet;

Macmillan Tweet

Later Save the Children used it to highlight the plight of children in Syria with Leonard Cheshire following with a Tweet highlighting the poor access for people with disabilities on many tube lines.

The tactic has provoked considerable debate with some commentators suggesting the tactic was “disrespectful” but I think they are right to make use of the interest in the strike and to draw attention to what in all honesty are much more worthy causes than a period of industrial action. In many ways the juxtaposition of these life affecting causes against the inconvenience of the tube strike helps show how easy it is to lose perspective on life, and to do it in a way which has wit and thoughtfulness merely adds to my admiration for them.

It is also worth pointing out to those who feel the tactic of “newsjacking” was wrong in this case, that Twitter is not limited to London, and whilst the strikes are undoubtedly a pain for people living and working in the capital, there are many more people across the country who would see these Tweets and  feel much more affinity to the charities piggy backing on the tube chaos.

Finally, one of the first lessons of social media is that brands are no longer in control and any hastag or Twitter newsfeed for that matter risks being used by other users for other purposes. That is the nature of the tool.