California is currently trying to pass a bill that would remove the philosophical opt-out to vaccines that parents have been using. Without citing this opt-out all kids going to public school in the state need to be vaccinated. A dedicated group of anti-vaxxers have been leveraging Twitter to fight this bill.
Wired is reporting that “[several] senators who voted in favor of the California legislation have found themselves receiving extensive attention from the group—one, Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, has been @-mentioned (often unfavorably) in a particular Twitter hashtag more than 2,000 times since casting her vote in favor of the legislation.”
This is interesting for two reasons:
- it’s a natural extension of the anti-vax movement, which is predicated almost entirely on leveraging social capital (and celebrities) and anecdotes (over say, science).
- it’s a good example, in terms of effect if not outcome, of how a small dedicated group can disproportionately represent themselves as being larger than they actually are.
If anything, this is a good reminder that these tools can be used by anyone and gives us (or at least me) a glimpse of what it must seem like to be on the other side of a campaign like this.
I recommend the Wired article. It’s a fascinating read.