While the United States Supreme Court forbids tweeting from its courtroom, thousands of people elsewhere have taken to Twitter to talk about the legal battle surrounding the Affordable Care Act, including top Republicans and Democrats. The two parties are now engaged in an all-out digital war to get more support for their side of the health care argument.
During the first day of Supreme Court oral arguments on Monday, "Obamacare" was mentioned more than 43,000 times while the general topic of "healthcare" was discussed more than 72,000 times. About half those tweets were neutral in tone, simply disseminating information about the Supreme Court's proceedings. Positive and negative tweets both represented about 25% each of the total number of tweets, according to analysis by Topsy Labs.
The "Obamacare" name was originally coined as a pejorative term by Republican opponents of the bill. Many Republicans have been using social media to explain why they're against the Affordable Care Act and want the Supreme Court to strike it down, and the Republican Party's website is asking visitors to sign an "anti-Obamacare" petition (so far, more than 7,400 have signed).
MicheleBachmann (@MicheleBachmann) March 23, 2012
However, Democrats have capitalized on the opportunity to "take back Obamacare," so to speak. For the past few days, they've been rolling out an aggressive digital rebranding campaign seeking to recast "Obamacare" as a positive term.
They've got a petition of their own, but they're not advertising how many people have signed it. A Facebook page called "Obamacare" has almost 30,000 "likes." Over on Twitter, @BarackObama has been using an "#ILikeObamacare" hashtag to get supporters of the bill talking. And President Obama's campaign has also been asking supporters to share why they like the bill on Tumblr.
Laura (@laurajakers) March 27, 2012
Opponents of that bill have countered the rebranding efforts by trying to usurp the #ILikeObamacare hashtag:
Craig Carroll (@craigcarroll) March 23, 2012
Oral arguments about the Affordable Care Act are on their third and final day Wednesday, so we can expect to see plenty more tweets about it from both sides of the asile over the next few hours and days.
Do you think the "#ILikeObamacare" rebranding effort will be successful? Sound off in the comments below.