How Social Media's Phenomena Stomped On Cyberbullying

Social media has become a tool for searching for people, used more and more frequently to find a long-lost sibling or a love interest spotted on the beach one sunny afternoon. Several high-profile stories suggest that a catchy hashtag can cause a spike in conversation and get the global social media community involved in your search, increasing the likelihood of your success exponentially.
Used in over 40,000 Tweets worldwide, this is just what happened when the #finddancingman hashtag was created last week. With only a blurry photo to aid her, efforts to find this mysterious Dancing Man were spearheaded by @CassandraRules and they quickly spread across social media. In fact, it only took a matter of days, for the Dancing Man internet phenomenon to spread across numerous social media platforms, inspire hundreds of thousands of posts, and earn millions of impressions. While the story began on 4chan, an imageboard website, where a hurtful comment was made about an obese man spotted in a nightclub, the conversation quickly spread from Imgur to Twitter. The end result thus far? Over $40,000 has been donated to the Dancing Man party through GoFundMe, a popular crowdfunding and fundraising website.

The 166,000+ Tweets that have been written about dancing man include new hashtags, celebrity mentions, calls to end cyberbullying, and positive support for dancing man. In total, these topics have contributed to a positive conversation which united people across the globe and social media platforms including dancing man, who reached out to the Twitter community with a new Twitter Handle. dancing-man-topic-wheel @Dancingmanfound has become an internet sensation, accumulating over 85k Twitter follows in only 7 days. In fact, he has earned 16 million potential impressions over the same time period with Tweets that have been read and retweeted by his followers. dancing-man-engagement Retweets helped to propel the dancing man conversation to epic proportions. In addition to Tweets that received several thousand mentions authored by @Dancingmanfound, @CassandraRules and celebrities who decided to get involved also brought substantial attention to the cause.

So who was doing all of this Retweeting and searching for dancing man? We used Affinities™  and Segment Insights to learn more about dancing man audience. When we compare their interests to those of the general Twitter audience, a variety of distinctions appear. Interestingly, the dancing man audience seems to be interested in celebrities and social justice and disinterested in popular teen topics. They are 39 times more likely to be interested in celebrities and 8 times more interested in Real Housewives in addition to being 15 times more interested in Wikileaks and 3 times more interested in Charities. In contrast, they are ⅙ as interested in colleges and universities, ¼ as interested in MTV, and ⅓ as interested in Miley Cyrus as the general Twitter audience.
It is no surprise that the people Tweeting about dancing man are interested in charities, an affinity that includes activism and nonprofits as commonly shared interests. While intrigue surrounding the search for the mysterious dancing man and the celebrity involvement attracted many people to the conversation, much of the conversation was devoted to supporting dancing man and the party to be held in his honor. It is interesting that affinities often associated with teens and young adults were not popular even though this population has had plenty of experience with the changing nature of bullying. Although the conversation has already begun to dwindle, engagement across social media platforms and the birth of a new internet celebrity will hopefully lead to durable changes in the fight against cyberbullying.
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