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#My2K: Why Twitter is Obama's modern-day "bully pulpit"


He's the most powerful politician on earth—at least on Twitter. Now, President Barack Obama is using his social media capital to rally support for his plan to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” using the hashtag #My2k.

The hashtag, announced on Wednesday, stands for “My $2,000.” That number represents roughly the amount of money the average middle class family will have to pay extra in taxes if Congress doesn't strike a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” on Jan. 1 and extend the Bush-era cuts.

If “My2K” sounds familiar, you're not alone. It was purposely meant to emulate the “Y2K” fad of 2000, reported the USA Today. “Not 'Y2K'—'My2K,'” Obama said on Wednesday afternoon. “We figured it'd be a little easier to remember.”

Soon after the president made the announcement, both the Obama campaign's Twitter account and the White House's official account began pushing “My2K.” By Wednesday evening there had been nearly 100,000 tweets that included the new hashtag, according to Topsy.com. The White House was encouraging people to reach out to their representatives and tell them what $2,000 meant.

“I'm asking Americans to make your voice heard. Tell members of Congress what a $2,000 tax hike would mean to you," the president tweeted on Wednesday.

The White House was staying on top of the situation throughout Wednesday, retweeting some of the most meaningful responses.

#My2K is daycare, diapers, supplies for my classroom, food and home repairs to fix the damage left by Sandy,” wrote Susan Ellis.

#My2K allows me to be able to buy groceries AND be able to keep paying back my student loans. If that 2K goes, I'll have to choose … ,” wrote Megan Tarbett, who quickly learned that being retweeted by the president isn't what it's all cracked up to be. Soon after Obama's account passed along her message, she quickly was inundated by messages, some that were less than supportive. Still, the West Virginian took it in stride.

“On one hand, very cool to be retweeted by the president's account. On the other hand, not cool to be retweeted by the President's account,” she wrotefollowed by, “When you give your opinion, you allow other people to give you theirs. I accept yours, even as you do not accept mine.”

But it didn't all go off without a hitch. According to CNET.com, conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation purchased a promoted tweet shortly before the President's announcement. When people searched #My2k, the first thing that popped up was the foundation's tweet with a link to an opinion piece about taxes.

Nonetheless, the push by Obama and the White House to use Twitter in the fiscal-cliff battle is a clear sign of what they plan to do with the four years of social media capital they've gained. After all, 23 million followers on Twitter and 33 million fans on Facebook is nothing to waste. In some respects, it's a modern-day version of what President Theodore Roosevelt called the “bully pulpit,” that is, using the power of the presidency to sway constituents. In this case, the power of social media.  

Image via the White House/Flickr.

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