‘Supernatural’ fandom gives the CW a lesson in Twitter PR

Note to the CW: You tweet what you sow.

Mar 2, 2020, 1:05 am*

Internet Culture


Aja Romano

It might be summer, but the CW, the network responsible for some of the biggest fandoms around, including Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries, isn’t taking a break. In fact, this week on Twitter, CW executives, or at least the people who run their social media accounts, have been getting thoroughly schooled in the ways of fandom and social media—and the dangers of inviting fans to talk back.

On Tuesday, the network launched a series of Twitter hashtags for various shows, inviting fans to submit questions to be answered by the casts and crews at San Diego Comic Con. After a deluge of responses, the network eventually deleted all but two of the open requests:

Among the hashtags whose official announcements were deleted are #AskTVD, #AskTheOriginals, and #AskSupernatural. Particularly in the case of Supernatural, the CW’s ploy backfired; thousands of fans who were angry and upset with the network deluged the #AskSupernatural hashtag for days with snark, challenges, and critical questions, which seemed to far outnumber more innocent questions about the show’s narrative.

GIF via our-lord-and-savior-mishacollins

So many fans joined in that #AskSupernatural trended worldwide on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday, and shows no sign of stopping today. Numerous fans compared it to the equally ill-fated #AskRobinThicke:

The vast majority of SPN fans joined in to criticize the show’s oft-noted ongoing issues: cyclical plots, problematic tropes, and above all the sustained refusal to give Dean and Castiel, or “Destiel,” an explicitly acknowledged romance.

Most of the constant refrain of criticism stemmed from SPN’s status as the whitest, manliest, straightest show ever to have inexplicably cultivated a fandom that is its demographic polar opposite. But in between the social justice and ship-related concerns were more practical questions about the plot of the show itself:

Fans were also quick to respond to the CW’s deletion of the original invitation to use the hashtag, though there’s no indication that it was due to the nature of the questions and not simply the overwhelming number of responses:

The Daily Dot also got some appreciation from fans on the hashtag:

Elsewhere, fans of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals also had their own particular complaints:

Yikes! Looks like the CW can’t catch a break. It’s a good thing we love their shows so much. And after all, they do say disagreement is the highest form of respect.

Screengrab via Netflix

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*First Published: Jul 17, 2014, 5:48 pm