Today has been May Day, the international day to celebrate the labour movement. This morning, out of sheer lack of anything better to do, I decided to start posting suggestions for how to celebrate May Day to Twitter. I started out with one of my favourites, carolling. A simple joke, based on the idea that The Red Flag is often set to O Tannenbaum.
I kept this up for a bit, suggesting a number of activities that might be a suitable way to celebrate the achievements of the labour movement. Some were meant to be a bit humorous, but at their core was support for a more socialist outlook.
Over the day, one or two of them were retweeted around the place. And I picked up one or two new followers as a result. Some of the new followers, however, seemed to be a bit odd.
One of my suggestions that I was a bit uncertain of was Number 9. Basically, I suggested that people organise rallies like the recent April 15th “Tea Parties” in the US, and demand higher taxes. I was worried that some of the people I regularly interact with online might misunderstand me and think I somehow supported the recent protests.
It was after this tweet that I picked up a couple of new followers: a conservative blogger, and the Twitter account for the 912 DC movement – a group who intend to protest against the Obama administration’s tax plan on the 12th of September (on the grounds that the administration’s tax plan is a national tragedy on a par with the destruction of the World Trade Centre). This is not a group that I would normally wish to associate with. It seems I was right that some people might misinterpret my intentions of Suggestion 9.
During the day, I also kept track of Tweets tagged #Mayday, as I had done, to see what else was going on. It was here I found out another group associated with the Tea Party movement had retweeted Suggestion 9. However, after checking their feed, it became apparent they were using an automatic filter to find the phrase “tea party” and retweet everything it found, as it had picked up someone’s comment about a basketball game (which had initially been filtered through yet another auto-retweeter with no attribution to the original poster).
Anyway, now I have this new audience, I’m not sure what I should try to do. Do I attempt to make it clear to them that I’m not the person they’re looking for, or do I try to string them along, and attempt subversion of their movement? Sod it, that involves far too much work. Plus when I post this, Twitter will pick it up and they’ll read it.
In case they do: Look guys, no hard feelings? But if you think the biggest middle class tax cut since the depression means Obama is a socialist menace who must be stopped, you really need to get out and meet some real socialists. Also, you should probably have someone actually read the stuff you retweet to check it’s actually relevant.
Anyway, happy May Day to all.