Wisconsin has seen its political battles over the past two years play out at the ballot box, at protests and rallies, and in the Capitol building in Madison. Now we are seeing the battle flare up online.
Last February, liberals created a hashtag on Twitter called #wiunion that was used to mobilize and organize their protesters. That hashtag has been widely used since then. When the recalls began last spring, a new hashtag popped up: #wirecall. Liberals dominated this hashtag from the start and still do to this day.
Conservatives took notice that their side was behind in organizing online. So some conservative leaders decided to create their own hashtag to ensure the conservative message was being heard online. Brian Fraley from the MacIver Institute, Brian Sikma from Media Trackers and Matt Batzel from American Majority decided to start using #wiright on Twitter last October. #Wiright quickly took off and conservatives finally had a way to organize their messages on twitter for their intended audience to see more easily.
Since then, the hashtag has grown organically and is now used consistently by many Wisconsinites, including Milwaukee Talk Show Radio host Charlie Sykes. Reporters are also beginning to take notice and are following #wiright in order to see what Wisconsin conservatives are saying about the news of the day.
On March 6, 2012 #wiright even broke a news story and drove the news cycle. Earlier in the day, Judge David Flanagan issued a temporary injunction on Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker-signed voter ID law. #Wiright followers did some digging and @bvervelde tweeted out that Judge Flanagan had signed a recall petition, thus raising the issue of a conflict of interest in his ruling. The Wisconsin State Journal (and other news outlets) took notice and wrote articles about the judge signing the recall petition. The Wisconsin State Journal article even linked to the tweet @bvervelde posted on #wiright.
The metrics also indicate that #wiright is having a big impact online. According to a hashtracking.com report of #wiright from June 1, #wiright had over 1,500 tweets generated 3,291,292 impressions, reaching an audience of 796,052 followers within the past 24 hours. Wisconsin conservatives are using #wiright to share what is really happening in Wisconsin, without the filter of the mainstream media. Conservatives are communicating their message and organizing online to influence others.
Conservative organizations like American Majority Wisconsin (@WI_Majority 6,766 followers), MacIver Institute (@MaciverWisc 3,856) and Media Trackers (@mediatrackers 6,765 followers) are also gaining lots of followers on twitter, even more than their liberal counterparts like One Wisconsin Now (@Onewisconsinnow- 4,064 followers), Citizen Action of Wisconsin (@CitizenActionWI 1,963 followers) and Emerge Wisconsin (@EmergeWI – 798 followers).
Conservatives in Wisconsin have been effectively mobilizing online and are fighting back against liberals’ dominance there. Throughout the recall season, conservative groups have increased their audience through tweeting using their hashtag, #wiright.
As the nation watches the recall election on Tuesday, be sure to follow #wiright for the conservative perspective on what’s taking place.