Leone Kraus

Twitter Hashtags that Promoted NY Marriage Equality

Filed By Leone Kraus | June 30, 2011 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: lgbt hashtags, marriage equality, New York gay marriage, same-sex marriage, Twitter

RainbowTweets.jpgEarlier this month, I posted a blog that took a look at how social media was helping New York win marriage equality. As you know, we won, so I thought I would take a look at the final numbers of some of the hashtags that were used on Twitter for the marriage equality conversation.

In a piece written before the marriage equality vote, I noted that the hashtag #NY4M was tweeted over the course of one week 550 times, then the following week it was tweeted well over 6,000 times.

Now, let's look at how many times #NY4M was tweeted the days leading up to, during, and after the vote (Chart Below).

You can't see the numbers in the green boxes on the chart but June 24, the day the vote took place, #NY4M was tweeted just over 6,000 times. Because the vote took place late at night in New York, you'll see that there is a significant a spike the day following the vote. On June 25, as word spread that New York won Marriage Equality, #NY4M was included in over 13,000 tweets.

I pulled this chart out of BackTweets, a Twitter analytics tool, on June 28, 2011. As of June 28, #NY4M was used in over 25,000 tweets and streamed in over 26 million user's Twitter feeds.

And of course, here's the official Tweet from the @NYSenate Twitter account announcing that the Marriage Equality bill had passed.

Additional Twitter hashtags were used to spark the conversation via Twitter including #inittowinit, #ssm, #equality and #lgbt.

In the past six days, these hashtags received the following number of Tweets:

#inittowinit: 687 tweets and ran in 373, 391 Twitter feeds
#ssm: 10, 394 tweets and ran in over 16 million Twitter feeds
#equality: 19,840 tweets and ran in over 18 million Twitter feeds
#lgbt: 34,878 tweets and ran in over 56 million Twitter feeds

Because there's no way to automatically measure the quality of content in a tweet with an assigned hashtag, it's difficult to determine that all of these hashtags were related to the Marriage Equality vote in New York. Often, hashtags, especially #equality and #inittowinit are attached to other content that is not related to the LGBT community.

In addition, sometimes these hashtags are used by anti-gay organizations, like the National Organization for Marriage, in their tweets, making it difficult to decipher the exact percentage of pro- versus anti- marriage equality tweets.

I'm going to assume that a majority of the tweets with the hashtags highlighted above are "pro" since NOM has a variety of hashtags that they use to attract their own target audience.

This is the great thing about Twitter and hashtags - they allow you to obtain bits of information quickly and to follow the conversations that you want to follow. Furthermore, they allow word to spread of great news, like marriage equality passing in New York, faster than any other medium in the world.

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Anti-equal marriage folks used #no4m. Other pro gasthaus were #enoughisenough, #LetUsVote, and, on the last day, #Nooneknowswhatthehellisgoingonhere.

Emily, I was frustrated just watching from home. I can't imagine how many #whatthehellisgoingon tweets I would have sent if I was there in Albany haha.

Thanks for bringing up additional hashtags. #letusvote was only tweeted 3 times on June 25. I'm certain it was tweeted more on June 23 and June 24. Sadly, I can only track measurement 6 days out from the time a I pull. It would have been interesting to see.

These were immensely helpful in following along with everything that was going on in New York.

One particularly disturbing hashtag pair that found repeated use by many of my friends was #gaymarriage #equalityforall

The main "promoter" of those hashtags was the "Gay Marriage for New York" group on Facebook which has some 140,000 fans.

Talk about an oxymoron. I came very close to unfollowing him. A lot of my friends simply used #gaymarriage alone, so I felt more lenient in those cases, since they weren't promoting equality.

--Randall