1. Twitter’s list of Trends is frequently populated with hashtag jokes, a sort of improv comedy game that can start with a single tweet and then spread to cover the entire world.
  2. Last week, #FiveWordsToRuinADate became a worldwide phenomenon, much to the surprise of its originator, Irish radio host Rick O'Shea.
  3. Most of the time, these are just tweet-sized bits of fun, but as the CBC’s John Bowman reports, hashtag jokes can have a serious side.
  4. This week, the rather cumbersome hashtag #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview was trending in the U.S. and Canada, with Twitter comedians offering suggestions like:
  5. That hashtag joke was a variation on one that an Irish radio host came up with last week.
  6. Rick O’Shea of RTÉ invited listeners and Twitter followers to come up with five words to ruin a date. That hashtag went on to be a worldwide trending topic because of tweets like this:
  7. O’Shea says the games and Twitter hashtags they use on the show come out of a meeting before they go to air, or from conversations that happen during the show.
  8. "We do hashtag things on Twitter pretty much every day of the week and every now and then we’ll get them trending in Ireland," said O'Shea. "Once or twice we’ve had things trends slightly further than that."
  9. O’Shea found #FiveWordsToRuinADate on the front page of the news-sharing website Reddit.
  10. "Somebody had started a strand there and I thought well, that’s really clever. And they’d put together their own suggestions, which made me laugh. Immediately I brought it to the table," he said.
  11. A half an hour into the show, it was trending in the U.S. and O’Shea knew they had a hit on their hands.
  12. “I went home. I didn’t look at the net for the rest of the evening. I came in to work the following morning and it was at the top of the list of global hashtags," he said.
  13. It was so popular, in fact, that companies’ Twitter accounts had started to latch on to the hashtag, suggesting their own #FiveWordsToRuinADate.
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