Prez Obama is running away with our #ThisIsWhy campaign.

What do you do when the leader of the free world hijacks your hashtag campaign? Barack Obama recently launched a new site featuring stories on why health care (reform) matters. The tagline’s Twitter-translation? #ThisisWhy.

It all began on January 1st, with Virginia.

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Virginia may be able to go to the doctor again but does she have anything on James W. Thomasson ’63, an alum who gives us this story as part of Wesleyan’s #ThisIsWhy campaign?

At the age of eight, in socially divided Middleburg, Virginia, I was “reported” to my mother by a neighborhood “wag” for playing in the street with “John Henry”—yes, a ten-year-old black boy. As big a disgrace as that must have been for the neighbor, it paled in comparison to the embarrassment of my mother and the rage of my father. That evening after dinner—with little at all said to me or my sister about this awful violation I had committed—my father left the table momentarily, then, returned with an “Atlas” of the United States. In silence he opened to the national map, closed his eyes, and, with a determined thrust, stuck his index finger on Colorado Springs, Colorado. That was October, 1949, and forty-some miles from the Capitol of the “land of the free!”

By January following, my family…was living in Colorado Springs.

Post-Virginia, @BarackObama has tweeted #ThisIsWhy no fewer than 11 times. A search for #thisiswhy no longer results in only @WesConnected and @mroth78 using #thisiswhy in all of their tweets and teenagers complaining about school— no, now there’s also pesky Obamacare supporters.

How did this even happen? There have been theories:

When we were trying to figure out how they got a hold of the idea, our first thought was that President Roth might have made the mistake of mentioning it at the Higher Education Summit he attended on the 16th, but that seems too recent for them to be able to roll out all those videos. With that in mind, we’re going to lay the blame on Daphne Kwok ’84, Ron Bloom ’77, Lail Brainard, David Lipton ’75, or a combination of the four. Traitors. — The ‘Cac

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Doubtful. My bet is that Obama did not properly follow the advice of this handy “How to Choose a Hashtag For Your Twitter Campaign” flowchart.


Are you adding to the conversation, Barack? Can we even specify the conversation with a hashtag with as little specificity as #ThisIsWhy? Has our anti-campaign campaign been so successful in its anti-campaign-ness that it actually stands for nothing? Is there copyright infringement to be fringed on Twitter hashtags? Will all of Wesleyan’s efforts and those many sheets of paper spattered with #ThisIsWhy that showed up in our Wesboxes be for naught/Obamacare? What will happen and WHY?


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