Students and unions in Wisconsin are protesting a piece of legislation from the state’s new governor
that’s been described two ways:
- a union-busting bill meant to stifle workers
- a cost-saving measure with modest changes for public employees
Democrats are lining up on the union-busting side, while Republicans (and Tea Partiers) are choosing the latter.
Protests over the bill have grabbed headlines nationwide this morning, with several noteworthy incidents taking place: Democratic state senators have fled to an undisclosed location to prevent a vote on the bill; protesters (many of them students) have taken over the capitol building in Madison; and President Obama has weighed in siding with the protesters.
As you probably imagined, social media has played a major part in fueling the protests. (Just search Wisconsin on Twitter, and you’ll see what I mean.) Here are just three ways social media has helped spark and drive the upheaval in the land of cheese:
1. Democratic senators tweeting away. From their self-imposed exile, Dems have checked in often from Twitter, including State Sen. Chris Larson who tweeted: “For those looking for us, we are right here, standing with the people of Wisconsin.” Another democratic senator, Lena Taylor, has actively engaged her followers with @ mentions on Twitter. Her engagement also included a controversial tweet—“Like Hitler in 1933, Walker is busting unions, refuses to sit down and talk to the people”—which drew stiff criticism from at least one Wisconsin Tea Party member. (It appears that tweet was removed, but there are follow-up tweets from Taylor referencing it.)
2. Union supporters sharing pictures and organizing protests via Facebook. On the social network, Taylor has shared pictures of the state’s capitol building that’s been flooded with protestors, while one Facebook page—calling for the ouster of Walker—which launched late last year is picking up steam with nearly 40,000 likes as of Friday morning. Another page, United Workers and Youth to Oppose Budget Cuts in Wisconsin, was launched on Tuesday in support of the protests against the bill.
3. Citizens reporting on YouTube. A rather dramatic video of firefighters entering the capitol building in Wisconsin—flanked by protesters—is starting to gain traction with more than 3,000 views. It’s one of numerous YouTube videos documenting the charge.