Social Media’s Immigration March on Washington
(WASHINGTON) — The current march on Washington won’t fill the National Mall, or see an influx of buses down Constitution Avenue. But what it will do is clog your inbox.
You can only see it on your computer, or mobile device, but it’s out there: a two-day virtual march on Washington with the goal of demanding immigration reform.
“We don’t see this as exclusive of a regular march,” Jeremy Robbins, director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, told ABC News. “It’s 2013 and the way we communicate is broader and different than it was a generation ago, and we want to be able to maximize all the ways we can to push Congress.”
The event, which started on Wednesday and goes until Thursday night, is organized by Mayor Bloomberg’s immigration forces in partnership with President Obama’s OFA (Organizing for Action) and asks viewers to send their senators emails, tweets and Facebook messages demanding immigration reform.
“We tried to leverage all the different social media tools for all the different purposes,” Robbins said, in order to garner attention for the event.
President Obama even retweeted former Florida governor Republican Jeb Bush: “Delaying solutions will only make the problem grow. NOW is the time for immigration reform. Join the #iMarch…”
Twitter chats with Bloomberg kicked things off Wednesday morning. Google hangouts, Mashable and Tumblr are all resources used for the iMarch. The event will live stream music and documentaries with the goal to push people to their website, where they make it easy for users to quickly locate their senator and, with just a click of the mouse, send a message.
One of the things that make this march different, Robbins says, is the flexibility it allows.
“If you are relying just on typical ways of lobbying, physical marches, etc., those are very powerful tools and we use all of them,” he said. “One of the benefits of a virtual match is there are no hotel rooms to book, no permits to obtain…. So you can time the virtual march to when it’s going to be most effective in the debate.”
Just Tuesday the Senate Judiciary committee voted to send the immigration bill to the full Senate for debate.
The launch of #iMarch saw the biggest political thunderclap of all time, reaching over 45 million users. A thunderclap is a way for many users to coordinate their social media messages to post simultaneously.
“We don’t want to pretend that we are starting from scratch, but this is a new area and this is just a start,” Robbins said. “We are going to keep pushing, keep marching and see this through the entire Senate and then see it through the House.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio