From Filibernie to Twitterbuster: The Digital Sit-in of the Tax Deal

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A few days after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) became the world’s biggest Twitter trend with his 8.5-hour filibuster of the Obama/GOP tax deal, the #filibernie has morphed into a loosely-defined “digital sit-in”  promoted under the new hash tag #Twitterbuster. A few sample tweets:

@imwithbernie: okay twittetarians…it’s now or never. show the #filibernie support. #twitterbuster = digital sit-in, RT #twitterbuster

@normavela: If you support Bernie Sanders’s opposition to tax cuts for the wealthiest, tweet & retweet #filibernie #twitterbuster

@SoundPolitic: I called my Senators to stand with Bernie Sanders. Took about 15 minutes. I KNOW you’ve got the time too! #filibernie #twitterbuster

@Heidiko44: Robin Hood was right #filibernie #twitterbuster

Beyond the obvious outrage over giving tax breaks to the rich during a budget crisis, the twitterverse’s fascination with Sanders’ speech might have something to do with mashing up two vastly different types of media. There’s something delightfully jarring about promoting the definition of long-form oration, the filibuster, on a  platform constrained to 140 characters. One of Friday’s most popular tweets attempted to sum up the entire address: “@SenatorSanders spoke for 8.5 hours in defense of 98% of Americans.”

For highlights from the monster speech that started it all, check out my summary here.

UPDATE: On Monday night, Sanders appeared on Countdown With Keith Olbermann and was attacked by Stephen Colbert, who proposed that instead of taxing the rich, we support the poor by purchasing and eating their children. Below the jump Rachel Maddow recaps his speech and makes the case that the Beltway media exhibited a bias in its spotty coverage of the event.

Update #2: On Tuesday, Twitter user @imwithbernie launched an eponymous website,, that allows users to easily highlight and tweet any part of the transcript of Sanders 72,000-word oratory.

Last updated on 12/14/10 at 1:35 Pacific

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