* #my2k top-trending topic
* Seeking compromise to avert "fiscal cliff"
By Alina Selyukh
WASHINGTON, Nov 28 President Barack Obama opened
a new front on Wednesday in the battle between Democrats and
Republicans over the best way to avoid the year-end "fiscal
cliff" - Twitter.
The web-savvy Obama administration launched a social media
campaign that asks Twitter users to add the "#my2k" hashtag to
messages with examples of what $2,000 means to them.
The amount is roughly what a middle-class family of four
would have to pay extra in taxes next year if Congress cannot
strike a deal to remove the threat of roughly $600 billion in
tax hikes and federal spending cuts.
The fast-paced social networking site known for its zippy
140-character comments is a tried-and-true method of reaching
Americans. The latest call for such searchable references is an
effort to pressure Congress into finding compromise on long-held
Obama announced the new Twitter hashtag campaign at a news
conference on Wednesday. He and fellow Democrats, who oppose
significant cuts to U.S. "entitlement" programs such as Medicare
as a way of balancing the budget, have been trying to break
Republican opposition to hiking taxes on anyone, including the
Promotions of "#my2k" quickly went out to millions of
followers of the White House Twitter account and scores of
Democratic backers, including former House of Representatives
Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Soon, "my2k" was a top-trending subject.
"#My2K means food for a year, the remainder of my student
loan paid off or a full month of child care. $2200 can make or
break a family," wrote Twitter user Katrina Burchett.
In the anarchic spirit of social media, Republicans, who
also polished their Twitter hashtag skills during the bitter
2012 presidential campaign, pounced quickly.
The conservative Heritage Foundation bought the promotional
tweet that pops up at the top of the list if one searches for
"#my2k" mentions, where the think tank offered its own take on
solutions to the fiscal cliff.
House Speaker John Boehner and scores of fellow Republican
lawmakers started sharing examples they hoped would put the
blame for the lack of a resolution on the Democrats.
"We in the House took steps this summer to avert
#fiscalcliff and stop #my2K tax hikes," wrote Representative
Mike Turner. "It's time for @whitehouse and @SenateDems to act."
'BEING AWARE OF WHAT'S GOING ON'
Users on Twitter can sign up to follow one another's
messages, making searchable hashtags a helpful way to sort by
subject or theme.
Marcus Messner, who studies social media at Virginia
Commonwealth University, said Twitter was a perfect environment
to reignite Obama's base swiftly and gauge public engagement on
The Obama administration has used Twitter hashtags as part
of lobbying campaigns to keep student loan rates low with
#dontdoublemyrate and to extend payroll tax cuts with
#40dollars, which was their estimate of how much the cuts saved
an average family each year.
White House Social Media Director Macon Phillips later
called the $40dollars hashtag "one of the most significant
campaigns we ran on Twitter."
"It's about being aware of what's going on and understanding
that in the age of social media, you're just a participant," he
told an Entrepreneur.com blogger in February. "It's not
something that you can control."