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Fox News creates New Year's hashtag, gets old, old problems

#OverIt2014 was the hashtag created by Fox News. It showed, yet again, the dangers of audience participation on Twitter.

Should Fox have anticipated that this hashtag just might incite critics? Fox and Friends; Twitter screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Social-media experts love to talk about engagement.

Some attempts at securing it, though, result in the sort of engagements where the future bride throws the ring at her fiancé and screams: "You sniffling, duplicitous pig!"

Slightly right-of-left channel Fox News thought it would get its Twitter followers to join in a collective sigh of relief that the year was almost over.

So its "Fox and Friends" show created the hashtag #OverIt2014 and asked its followers what they were over. It accompanied the tweet with an image of presenter Elizabeth Hasselbeck and the speech bubble: "I'm over attacks against Christianity."

You might imagine that this would encourage so many of the show's faithful to link arms and bear them. I might imagine that you've never been on Twitter.

For lying in wait were those for whom this hashtag was manna from an ancient heaven.

Soon, the responses rolled off the tongue and into "Fox and Friends"' bile duct.

"I'm over Fox and Friends," was the predictable but mild offering from one Chris Bell. "I'm over your mean-spirited channel disguising itself as news and poisoning the well of free speech and journalism," mused a Tom Hensley.

Some might wonder whether the well of free speech does necessarily include poisonous speech.

Then there was something a little more personal, aimed at Hasselbeck by Gabe Ortiz: "I'm over 'Survivor' contestants disguised as journalists."

It's called deep cover, Gabe.

I went through all of the replies and, sadly for Fox and its friends, they were largely spittle-centric. Perhaps this was something its social-media controllers might have anticipated.

Inviting audience participation on Twitter rarely incites your, well, friends. So many are lying in wait to tell you just how terrible you really are.

And what, you might wonder, does this sort of thing say about those who lurk in order to pounce with their superior thinking? We're all so much better at being judges than jury members.

Allow me to take this opportunity to wish a very Happy New Year to all those who come to Technically Incorrect to muse, titter or toss Molotovs. May all your wishes come true and may all your resolutions be real, rather than virtual.