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Get Your Thumbs Ready to Post

Posted At: October 2, 2013 2:10 p.m.
by Aime O’Keefe

(Eric Simmons)

It’s official.
The government shut down Monday night because the House of Representatives and the Senate played hot potato with Obama’s budget. As the clock ticked down, social media exploded.

Not surprisingly, there were plenty of humorous posts to lighten our mood:

But some were serious, as the pending government shutdown threatened thousands of government employees to be sent home indefinitely from work with no pay until a budget could be agreed upon.

I began to ask myself, “What does this mean for me?”

Like most college students, I get almost all of my news from social media and online sources. This poses a problem because most posts from personal accounts are inspired by a moment’s thought and thrown into cyberspace without checking the facts.

After reading some cries for help on Twitter, I was terrified that my family would lose the benefits of my father’s retirement pension. I proceeded to call my mother. Don’t lie: You would too.

The effects of the shutdown extend beyond furlough, a temporary unpaid leave of employees due to special conditions of the company. Yes, national parks and the Simithsonian will be closed until further notice. And if you’re a furloughed employee without a “nest egg” of emergency funds, then you could be “screwed” — as my mother puts it.

Panic aside, examine the development in communication media featured above. A common hashtag in these Twitter posts, #DontShutMeDown, was started by @msnbc when they asked followers to let them know the personal effects of the shutdown.

Everyone in the country was kept up to date during each aspect of the event via a slew of multimedia. Vine, CSPAN and, among others, exploded as nonstop coverage continued to keep Americans informed of what their elected officials were doing. Vine stood out as a platform of expression and debate through a series of videos and comments:

(NowThis Politics)

(NowThis Politics)

NowThis Politics is a Vine account committed to getting the news out from Capitol Hill, and promoting conversation. The account regularily posts six-second statements from various members of the House and Senate on current events. Below is a statement by Sen. Whip John Cornyn of Texas calling Sen. Harry Reid out on his intentions:

(NowThis Politics)

The change social media has had on our responsibility to manage the relationship with the public is now apparent. It is facilitating the greatest change to communication media since the television: conversation.

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