Jeff Jarvis was mad this weekend. Really mad. And like a lot of angry people, he took to Twitter to vent his frustration.
But unlike a lot of angry people, Jeff Jarvis’s frustration struck a chord with Twitter, and his expletive-ridden catchphrase took off like wildfire to quickly become a viral Twitter phenomenon.
Some issues just warrant a good curse word, and for Jarvis, the fiasco over the budget crisis in the US was one of them.
As the TV pundits and politicians debated the debt crisis, Jarvis threw his hands up – and the immediately started typing. He sent a flurry of tweets from @JeffJarvis about the disastrous state of Washington, as Reuters reports:
“First: “Hey, Washington assholes, it’s our country, our economy, our money. Stop fucking with it.” Then, “People, it’s time to get fucking pissed off.” Later, “Can we start a Twitter chant: FUCK YOU, WASHINGTON! Pass it on.””
He tweeted so much from his personal account that he apparently had to start the temporary @FuckYouWashington account to avoid Twitter’s limit restrictions.
As he explains in an article on the Guardian, he wasn’t looking to do anything more than let off some steam. But once one of his followers suggested he focus his rage into a single hashtag, #FuckYouWashington, everything changed.
People took up the mantle and #FuckYouWashington spread across America. Some wanted to turn it into a march, others wanted to name politicians, and others wanted to cleanse the curse word out of it. But as Jarvis explains, the hashtag is “…not mine any more. That is the magic moment for a platform, when its users take it over and make it theirs, doing with it what the creator never imagined.”
There are still dozens of tweets that include #FuckYouWashington being sent out every second. It’s a groundswell, and although Twitter probably wouldn’t let an expletive-ridden hashtag float to the top of its Trending Topic list, the underground response is huge.
Maybe politicians will hear it, maybe they won’t, but Jarvis’s hashtag spoke to the millions of Americans on Twitter, and that’s something.