The most memorable moment of Wednesday’s presidential debate involved Mitt Romney, PBS, and a popular Sesame Street character. Halfway through the debate, Romney pledged to cut funding for PBS despite his love for the giant yellow muppet.
"What things would I cut from spending?” Romney said. “I will eliminate all programs by this test: Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I'll get rid of it. Obamacare's on my list. ... I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for [it]. "
Soon after, Twitter erupted in support of Big Bird with hashtags like #savebigbird, #SupportBigBird and #bigbirdforpresident. According to CNN, the #savingbigbird hashtag increased 800,000 percent, or 17,000 tweets per minute. As of yesterday, the sparks & honey cultural mapping platform identified nearly 600,000 mentions of Big Bird across the social Web—98% of which came from Twitter alone. A number of Big Bird Twitter avatars were born: @BigBirdLives, @BigBirdRomney and @FiredBigBird.
For many kids, Sesame Street is an introduction to learning a new vocabulary, how to read, discovering theater and music, and absorbing the difference between right and wrong. So the prospect of firing big bird strikes sadness not only in the beloved yellow muppet and the rest of his troupe, but millions of kids around the nation. Since the Twitterverse has rallied with dramatic support for Big Bird already, let’s take the effort to save our favorite Sesame Street character to the next level.
Join us by signing our petition to Twitter to save Big Bird and employ him as its official brand mascot.