It’s that time of year again.

#EdBallsDay is the top Twitter trend worldwide, and everyone outside the UK frantically searches 'Ed Balls’ to get in on the joke.

Firstly, a potted history of the Twitter phenomenon that is ‘Ed Balls day’.

Five years ago, the former Labour shadow secretary was shopping in a supermarket for ingredients to make a slow cooked pulled pork shoulder. That’s right, Ed Balls was pulling pork before you.

He had searched for an article about himself on Twitter using his phone and then at 4.20pm accidentally tweeted his own name.

Then the internet happened.

Naturally, it gathered thousands of retweets with users keen to showcase a classic ‘dad on social media’ moment.

But after five years, there’s a feeling that #EdBallsDay has become too commercialised.

Much like Christmas, has enthusiasm dulled as the spirit of the holiday is gradually being taken over by brands?

Recently, the death of Prince put a lot of corporate social media channels under scrutiny for attempting to make themselves relevant in a context that has nothing to do with their brand values.

While corporations joining in on this Twitter in-joke is nowhere near as insensitive, there’s an overwhelming feeling of... why?

Laboured puns desperately trying to shoehorn either ‘Ed’ or ‘Balls’ into a product, corporate handles tweeting their own names – there’s an overwhelming feeling that brands are joining conversations that they were neither invited to, nor welcome in.

The meta-culture of social media is one of the things which gave prominence to its rise.

From the days of using forum acronyms IRL, there has always been a unique element to nuances that develop purely in niche communities.

These in-jokes quickly become stale when either the subject of them becomes too aware of the publicity, or when they feature in advertising campaigns.

Fortunately for the online community, the politician took the fame in good humour and even joined in on the joke, integrating the spike in awareness to his political campaign (sadly Ed lost his seat in the last election).

Brands tweeting about Ed Balls feels a bit like your parents liking a Facebook status about a messy night out you’ve been on.

So mum, dad, Metro. Let the kids have their fun, and don’t spoil the party.

Having said that, we’ve just written an entire blog post about Ed Balls day.

Far from trying to join the branded party, just know that at Econsultancy we celebrate the true spirit of Ed Balls day.

Whilst we won't be tweeting 'Ed Balls' or 'Econsultancy' at 4.20pm today, we will be watching this. 

Andrew Chrysostom

Published 28 April, 2016 by Andrew Chrysostom

Andrew is a Social Media Executive at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Comments (1)

Michelle Goodall

Michelle Goodall, Independent Social Media, Digital Transformation and Communications Consultant - MCIPR at EconsultancySmall Business Multi-user

Ed Balls

about 2 years ago

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