A few days ago, Shia Labeouf began watching his own movies at the Angelika Film Center in New York City in reverse chronological order. This was the latest ‘performance piece’ in his history of bizarre art, and it was just that…Art! The general public was invited to watch with him, as well as the entire world…It was being live-streamed in real time on Newhive.

Watching Shia watch himself in all of his cinematic works was fascinating, and instantly viral under the hashtag #AllMyMovies on Twitter. Working in social media for 5 years, you begin to see trends and patterns on giant hashtags, but in the #AllMyMovies sense, you weren’t able to predict what would happen.

The Internet reacted as it regularly does: reaction gifs, sub-hashtags, .gif recording, parody accounts and more. This was coupled in real time with a heightened sense of comradery for the worldly-patrons that used the #AllMyMovies hashtag.

It was Wednesday night when I finally hopped on to watch Shia watch himself. I’ll admit I was skeptical albeit curious. He had 24 more hours to go until he had completed watching all of his movies. I caught him during Constantine. At first I just watched in first screen, with no desire to participate. It was interesting to watch another person watch a movie without hearing the sound, but something caught my eye almost immediately. A person directly behind Shia was texting on her cellphone and talking, which felt rude and disingenuous…This prompted me to Tweet.

From there it became an instantly gratifying obsession. The people on the #AllMyMovies hashtag were quick to respond, favorite and retweet. A sub-hashtag I coined took off, and for the remainder of this movie we were all sucked in to see what this girl would do next. For the next 24-hours I was glued to this experience, tweeting with new friends and watching Shia watch himself on the silver screen. In this time, I gained nearly 100 followers (from all over the world), 35,000 impressions on my tweets, close to 300 mentions/replies and the highest engagement rate I have had since restarting my Twitter account.

I felt like this was a unique opportunity that allowed me to really understand how people interact with content on Twitter. It also gave me some clear insights into how we should be thinking about our branded content in the future.

Brands Stayed Away

Unless a brand was somehow highlighted in something Shia was eating, a patron was doing, or directly mentioned…Brands stayed away! This common practice is so hard sometimes for social media marketers to grasp. We want to impress our audiences, or grow them larger, so sometimes we don’t use the best judgement and interject ourselves poorly into viral conversations. We hitch a ride on the virality of trending topics, and in doing so can scar our brands. Just because there is a hashtag does not mean you need to respond to it, which seemed to be common practice for 72-hours. This was quite impressive to me, because there are so many stories about failed attempts to participate.

Hashtags Are Community

The #AllMyMovies hashtag is a great example of a hashtag becoming a community. Those that participated feel a deep comradery to one another, having shared the same experience. Friendships were made, and common connections were found. It was a deeply moving thing to watch and be a part of! Hahstags used to feel very archaic and one-off, but I feel that this trend will continue to grow. Hashtags are starting to serve as talking points and water cooler conversation on the Internet. Brands should adopt this mantra when creating/coining hashtags in the future, and use them as a way to steer conversation beyond an initial tweet.

Livestreaming Is The Future

Livestreaming allows people from all over the world to share and consume the same content, and react to it the way they want to on a second-screen. Combining a hashtag with a livestream is a great way to aggregate the conversation, and milestone information. Livestreaming is becoming more popular with apps like Periscope and Meerkat, and is helping connect people to one another on a global scale. I predict that we will continue to see growth and evolution within this technology.

Use The Internet Authentically

The algorithms of what works are changing all the time. #AllMyMovies proves that using the Internet natively as a brand will work, but it must be done tactfully. To do this, you must truly understand your target audience and how they interact with social media. Viral movements like #AllMyMovies can help shape some valuable insights into the way your core demographic consumes and shares content. I predict that we will see more trends like this as the social media environment continues to change and grow.