The Unruly Mob Would Like to Comment
When the Texas Legislature took up abortion legislation, planned and spontaneous social media filled the Capitol with thousands of activists and delivered a global participatory audience. Celebrities tweeted as an 11-hour filibuster approached a midnight deadline, joined by fake Twitter accounts, YouTube, viral memes, livestreaming, guerrilla wifi hotspots, Taiwan animation, secret Facebook groups, Google+ Hangouts, new songs, merchandise, competing Wikipedia edits, dueling commentators, inappropriate touching, women in chains, alleged terrorist sightings, tampon confiscation, Hail Satan chanting, attempted use of a smartphone as an official timepiece, humorous Amazon product reviews for the filibuster shoes, conflicting timestamps, suffragettes, pizza, and vomit. The Internet had it all (http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/wendy-davis-filibuster-by-the-numbers-062613). Did it make a difference? Hear battle-tested techniques you can use from those in opposing trenches and in between.
Additional Supporting Materials
- The abortion debate in the Summer of 2013 has been called the most “truly transformational moment in Texas politics.” How did social media inspire unprecedented levels of public participation?
- Participating interests weren't just pro-choice or pro-life. Some were there to advance a candidate or a specific cause or philosophical position, or attack those of others. How was social media employed for short-term goals like passage or failure of the bill and raising awareness for an individual or a cause? How was it used for long-term goals like fundraising and building membership? What strategies were the most effective?
- At its height, 180,000 people watched events unfold on The Texas Tribune's livestream, which its CEO credited to making it into a national and international story (http://www.cjr.org/realtalk/texas_tribune_ftw.php?page=all). What roles did traditional media, new media, and citizen broadcast play?
- Memes generated in real time contributed to events (http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/2013/06/the-internets-best-tributes-to-feminist-hero-wendy-davis/#page/2)(http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/senator-wendy-davis-filibuster). One Game of Thrones-related tumblr image has over 35,000 notes (http://oliviabensons.tumblr.com/post/53900241101). How did creativity help break through the noise of 8700 on-topic tweets per minute and energize the public, and where did it fit in the overall strategy?
- So what?
- Steven Polunsky, Committee Director, Texas Senate
- Eliza Vielma, Director of Social & Digital Strategy, David Dewhurst Committee
- Joe Deshotel, Communications Director, Travis County Democratic Party
- Erica Grieder, Senior Editor, Texas Monthly
Steven Polunsky, Committee Director, Texas Senate
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