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The good, the bad, the vulgar: Wisconsin tweets and posts its way through storm of union protests

 
Here in Wisconsin we are emerging from another foot of snow dumped on us overnight—but not many of us are chilly or even lukewarm to what’s been happening here in the Dairy State. As tempers boil on both sides of the governor’s Budget  Repair Bill, we’re turning to social media to speak out.  

No matter which side you fall on, you can find a Facebook page, an online petition or a Twitter hashtag to keep you engaged and enraged.

And if you’re headed outdoors to rally, whether at the State Capital or outside your local school, you’ll need your warmest winter parka, some posterboard and a fully-charged smart phone to tweet, text and post encouragement and instructions on who’s meeting where.

I’ve waded through a number of YouTube videos and have shared a few on my own profile, eliciting dozens of comments and arguments. Many of my friends are showing either their support or their disdain for our governor by changing their profile pic or clicking “Like” on whichever page they happen to support.

Now a national conversation has gone global on Twitter, where the hashtag #wiunion was a worldwide trending topic Sunday with hundreds of new tweets added each minute.

Social media sites give us the instant ability to organize, read, participate and ultimately decide what we think is right or wrong. We don’t need to wait for the news, though we certainly are tuned in.

But there is a downside. Television news and newspapers edit for appropriate content and taste most of the time. Social media bombards us with the unedited truth of how ugly we can be, in real time.

Virally speaking, the photo gallery of the most vulgar protest signs from the Madison rallies has quickly sparked debate about the vitrol and anger we’re seeing as the conversation explodes.
 
The storm rages on. Are you in?

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