The strike keeping 350,000 students out of school across the city of Chicago is causing a bit of a social media traffic jam.
From Sunday, Sept. 8 through Monday, Sept. 10, social media monitor Radian6 reported
that social media traffic with references to the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) logged 65,000 mentions across all social media platforms, with Twitter accounting for nearly 80 percent of the traffic.
On Tuesday morning, marking the second day of the strike, the issue was not trending on Twitter primarily because it didn't have an established hashtag. Union backers were pushing #FairContractNow and #CTUStrike, but as of early Tuesday they didn't seem to have much traction. The most used hashtag, according to Radian6, was #ctu.
Radian6 also found:
• Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in almost 1,700 posts with 93 percent of them classed as negative;
• CTU President Karen Lewis accounts for 926 mentions with negative sentiment at 94.6 percent.
The Chicago Teachers Union Facebook page
remains active, posting multiple times each hour. To the union's credit, it doesn't appear they are deleting negative comments, like this one:
“KAREN LEWIS-get your negative, sour self into those negotiations and end the strike! You have proved your point that you can stand up to the Mayor! You are doing more harm than good! OUR KIDS NEED TO BE IN SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!"
For the most part, the page has strong support from parents and teachers: “As the daughter of a retired CPS teacher I salute you TEACHERS & respect those that traveled here to support your cause!”
Emanuel's Facebook page
posted only one proactive item on the strike Sunday, but it has elicited well over 300 comments and individuals are posting comments to the page’s timeline at a steady pace.
Offline, Emanuel's press secretary Tarrah Cooper responded to a viral attack on the mayor: That of a demonstrator's sign reading, "Rahm Emanuel likes Nickelback," which has spread on Facebook. Cooper told RedEye
, a free commuter daily published by the Chicago Tribune
, the mayor is not a fan of the Canadian rock band. (Actually, she said "no" when asked about it in an email.)
On Twitter, people are weighing in from all over the country. Canadian @DonMcNevin, offered this missive: “’Us's kids be home all day upta no good.’ A parent's comment about a teacher strike. This is what slashed educational funding sounds like.”
Other comments include:
: In other news, with 400k kids out of school b/c of the teacher strike, i'd HATE to work at a mall in chicago right now.
: The average Chicago teacher makes over $70,000 for a 5.5 hour workday, 183 year, 20 paid days off, 14 wks of vaca & they're striking? Wow.
: I stand with Chicago teachers. I am sick and tired of teachers unions being scapegoated for the problems in American education.
And speaking for the students was Horatio Sanz of “Saturday Night Live” fame. @MrHoratioSanz
: Dear Kids in Chicago. God bless your good fortune. Here's to another two weeks of the teacher's strike. I survived Chicago Public Schools.”
[RELATED: Chicago teachers strike escalates into PR conflict]
Gil Rudawsky is a former reporter and editor. He heads up the crisis communication and issues management practice at GroundFloor Media in Denver. Read his blog or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.