Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

October 3, 2013

ANNE FLAHERTY: Stop being stupid, Americans tweet to Congress

Public outcry plays out on social media

(Continued)

For their part, lawmakers used Facebook and Twitter to reiterate long-held talking points, further angering dissenting voters. Republicans said Obama’s health care program would be too catastrophic to allow, while Democrats accused Republicans of sending the government into a free fall to appease a small minority.

House Speaker John Boehner’s post urging Senate Democrats to back down earned more than 13,000 “likes” on Facebook and an additional 13,000-plus comments from voters, either hailing the Ohio Republican as a hero or calling him everything from a “crybaby” to a “terrorist.” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s Facebook post blaming Republicans for the shutdown earned fewer than 2,200 “likes” and 1,400 posts.

Meanwhile, federal programs used Twitter to announce they would no longer be responding to tweets or other social media posts until the shutdown ends. Even the first lady, Michelle Obama, said her own personal tweets would be limited.

One Twitter account, which for two years has been providing detailed updates on NASA’s Voyager 2 program, offered this less-than-comforting post before going dark: “Due to government shutdown, we will not be posting or responding from this account. Farewell, humans. Sort it out yourselves.” The Twitter account, which could not be confirmed as run by NASA, was later suspended.

Swedal, the Denver real estate agent, said in a telephone interview he doesn’t think his tweets will make a difference. In the end, he says, politicians are likely to do whatever they want.

“But at least I feel better,” he said.

Anne Flaherty covers the federal government’s take on technology for The Associated Press. Follow her at twitter.com/AnneKFlaherty.

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