Barack Obama took the battle for the fiscal cliff over the edge of Twitter today, unveiling the administration's #My2K hashtag at a speech this afternoon, encouraging users to tweet at their (Republican) congressmen with personal storie of how a $2,000 tax increase might actually affect the middle class. Conservatives, of course, went right to work using the hashtag to push back up the social-media mountain — and quite successfully thus far.
Take the right-wing thinktank the Heritage Foundation, which has already purchased a promoted tweet on the trend, so that the president's messaging gets sandwiched in your feed when you search for #My2K:
Yeah, that's the Heritage Foundation outranking Obama's own tweet on the #My2K subject. Do a little more hashtag searching and you'll also see a few tweets like these, from conservative pundits using the hashtag to get their own points across (your Twitter account will vary slightly, and I guess I hit the Republican jackpot with conservatives Ari Fleischer and Dana Loesch's tweets flanking one another):
Now, the Obama web team has been pretty savvy over the years. And they were probably hoping for the success they had last year when they crowd-sourced the #40dollars hashtag (during the debt ceiling crisis, $40 was the approximate amount of money the average American would lose from his or her paycheck if the debt ceiling issue wasn't resolved). The administration came away with some pretty heart-crushing stories back then. This one, about how $40 pays for this persons's attendant, in particular sticks out — in that it put a story to the kind of esoteric sounding "payroll tax cut":
"I have a significant physical disability (born without arms or legs). I have worked all my life, and have always paid out-of-pocket for my personal attendant care. I would have to give up many hours of personal attendant care each month without the $40 per paycheck from the payroll tax cut. These are essential services to me that allow me to work and remain independent. And my attendant would suffer as well. "
This time, thanks to conservatives, Obama's team will need to do a bit more editing if they want to find the same kind of stories and present them in the same kind of fashion as they did with the $40 crowd-sourcing project. Reuters's Ant De Rosa puts it best — that everything is fair game in the social-media sphere — and perhaps gives the Obama team a clue or two on how to take advantage of this (they're pretty good at debating right?):
Funny thing about promoting your own hashtag is it doesn’t really promote your message, it provides a forum for anyone to debate it— Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) November 28, 2012
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.