Big Bird Tweets and Roars

How do you spell “meme”?


In the five days since the Denver presidential debate, Big Bird has stormed social media as people everywhere have gone online to defend public broadcasting against defunding threats.

And over the weekend the frenzy jumped from social to traditional media as “Don't Mess With Big Bird,” Charles Blow’s New York Times column, became the paper’s “most emailed” and “most viewed” article.

And Saturday Night Live scored a win when it elbowed out competitors to become the first TV program to book an appearance with Big Bird since the eight-foot duck (chicken?) became a social media phenom.

Here are some stats:

  • On Wednesday night, according to Twitter, the phrase “Big Bird” was tweeted 17,000 times per minute.
  • By 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, “Big Bird” was the top trending Twitter topic related to the debate.
  • On Thursday, Facebook said that mentions of “Big Bird” had increased 800,000 percent on its network.
  • Parody account @FiredBigBird was hatched and grew swiftly to include more than 31,000 Twitter followers.
  • By Monday morning, a Google News search on “Big Bird” returned more than 939,000 results.

Whether Big Bird will continue to dominate social media remains to be seen. One thing that’s certain, though, is that millions of Americans will stand together to defend public broadcasting and its marquee bird. 

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People + Policy

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people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good