profile of Chuck Kolyvas

Double-hijacked: #ImVotingLiberal gets hashjacked

Australians using Twitter last night witnessed a social media phenomenon—the hijacking of a #hashtag—which we’re going to call hashjacking for now. The #ImVotingLiberal hashtag has been bandied about, in the most Liberal of ways, by @ImVotingLiberal on both Twitter and Facebook (it had been used earlier, albiet sporadically), spreading the hardline Liberal message that Lib voters aren’t going to take wasteful, leftist shit any more, thus:

#auspol #ausvotes #imvotingliberal 

— I'm Voting Liberal (@ImVotingLiberal) August 27, 2013
Last night, at a point I’m yet to determine, "vapid young people, parroting nonsensical slogans", as one guy I follow on Twitter described, seized on #ImVotingLiberal with admittedly lame attempts at political satire, playing on Abbott gaffs and Liberal stereotypes—yes, even I had a go. A few hashjacks, however, got to the point, succinctly: @macdorober: #imvotingliberal because who else is better equipped for choosing what is right for a woman's body than a middle-aged white man?

Whilst some went for the informed humour angle: @MiztaRabbit: #imvotingliberal because Tony Abbott loves us Muslims so much. I can claim $300k a year under his PPL scheme and sell kebabs as a sideline, and; ‏@Miamiheat4538: #imvotingliberal because I believe in the same speed for climate change and broadband. The net effect was that the hashjacking rendered the hashtag inert, with @ImVotingLiberal posting a veiled protest against the unwanted attention.

However, Americans using Twitter last night witnessed a social media phenomenon—Australian sarcasm—which we’re going to call sarcasm for now. At a point I’m yet to determine, the tag was unwittingly re-hijacked by conservatives in America who didn’t get the Australian context: @sharongrove1961: #imvotingliberal because I believe that it isn't racist to say blacks can't figure out how to get IDs. (That tweet got two retweets and two favourites by the way). And this from an ALARMINGLY misguided fool: @RepublicanDame: #imvotingliberal So Obama Care can destroy the single best Health Care System in the world.

As the hashtag maintains its momentum, what I’m delighting in is that Americans using the #ImVotingLiberal hashtag have no idea of the profound difference between the term ‘liberal’ and the party Liberal here in Australia.

Update: some Americans are cottoning on.

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