An interesting thing happened last night. I am not sure if you heard. Because if you were watching the late night news you would have heard that the controversial abortion legislation (SB5) passed the Texas Senate. And if you were following Twitter you would have witnessed one of the most important stands both on the floor and in gallery the Texas Senate has ever seen.
Social media, particularly Twitter, played an essential role in bringing advocates together to show massive support against SB5. Thousands of supporters tweeted, retweeted, posted and showed up to support Texas women. Calls for food were sent out over the twittersphere and the nation responded (with 300 pizzas). Close to midnight the hashtag #StandWithWendy was trending globally and was the main hashtag used to push out important updates and commentary about SB5. Even the POTUS joined in support.
The top trending hashtags #StandWithWendy, #SB5 and #txlege generated 1,352,753 mentions on Twitter in the last 24 hours.
Nationwide, individuals and celebrities took to their Twitter accounts to voice their support for Sen. Wendy Davis, Texas women and women rights.
The Texas Tribune, a local nonprofit, nonpartisan public media organization covering Texas politics and policy, was praised for being the only media outlet to live stream the proceedings. Evan Smith, CEO and Editor-in-Chief at the Texas Tribune, tweeted that more than 162,000 individuals were live streaming SB5 at 11:56 p.m., a record number.
The Tribune’s Twitter account (@TexasTribune) reached a potential of 51.3 million people further showing how Twitter plays an essential role in sharing information and connecting supporters nationally.
No longer can we just rely on the traditional news outlets as the source for information around important issues. Last night’s events proved that social media plays an integral part for public affairs and issues advocacy organizations in a campaign’s efforts to get a bill passed or killed.
And at 3:01 a.m., Texas’ Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced that SB5 couldn’t be signed because it passed after midnight. Oh, and apparently blueberry muffins have a lot of calories.
Photo courtesy of Todd Wiseman