Jeff Jarvis' #fuckyouwashington Twitter campaign angers D.C. residents

He chooses his swear words very, very carefully. (Photo: Flickr/re:publica 2011)

If you're the type of person who spends your weekend on Twitter, then you're already well aware of new-media prophet bloviator Jeff Jarvis' #fuckyouwashington campaign: his attempt to make that hashtag trend on Twitter, an expression of our collective anger over the stalled debt-crisis talks. Non-tweeps might even know the story by now, as CBS News' What's Trending blog posted this yesterday morning, followed by Slate's David Weigel.

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On his blog, Buzz Machine, Jarvis explains the hashtag's genesis:

So I was angry. Watching TV news over dinner — turning my attention from scandals in the UK to those here and frankly welcoming the distraction from the tragedies in Norway — I listened to the latest from Washington about negotiations over the debt ceiling. It pissed me off. I’d had enough. After dinner, I tweeted: 'Hey, Washington assholes, it’s our country, our economy, our money. Stop fucking with it.' It was the pinot talking (sounding more like a zinfandel).

In tweet after tweet, Jarvis chanted "FUCK YOU WASHINGTON" and encouraged his 75,000+ followers to do the same. It was kind of awkward. One of his followers suggested the aforementioned hashtag, and that's when the chant caught on. Before long, fellow-bloviator Jay Rosen (62,000+ followers) was on board. Jarvis and Rosen are like the Jesus and Muhammad of Twitter, so once they'd joined forces, there was no stopping the Twitterverse from grabbing pitchforks and torches and marching, online, toward Washington, D.C.

Begun on Saturday night, #fuckyouwashington peaked later that night, then surged again on Sunday afternoon — presumably, as news articles about the topic appeared, or perhaps as a result of the Sunday news programs — and is still alive, with several tweets per minute, but petering out. (The topic never did trend on Twitter, apparently, perhaps because the site moderates topics.)

While Jarvis' anger was directed at Washington politicians, some D.C. residents took offense that he hadn't chosen his words more carefully; instead of "Washington," he could have gone with "Congress" or "politicians" or the like. I'll admit I was a little rankled, too, by the hashtag — not because I felt it targeted us in D.C., but because thousands of people on Twitter joined what was, in the end, a rather juvenile protest.

To hell with #fuckyouwashington It's not the city that's the problem. DC is a wonderful place. It's more like #fuckyoucongressless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@1whoknu Heh Those of us native to DC & who live inside Beltway R getting a bit concerned about all the #FuckYouWashington #majorHostilityless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@jeffjarvis As a DC resident, would have preferred more Congress-focused hashtag than #fuckyouwashington. There are real people here too!less than a minute ago via Kiwi Favorite Retweet Reply

as someone who lives in DC, i'm trying hard not to take this #fuckyouwashington meme too personally @jeffjarvisless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

To all saying #fuckyouwashington: get bent, learn your facts: DC residents don't have right to elect voices in Congress. YOU DO! #dcvoteless than a minute ago via SocialScope Favorite Retweet Reply

Reading the #FuckYouWashington tweets. You people elected them. DC doesn't even get a vote, so don't hate on us.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

We Love DC editor Tom Bridge got in on it, too. His tweet, and another tweep's response, raised an interesting semantic question. Is it widely assumed that "Washington" connotes the political establishment, and "D.C." the District entire?

For the record, #fuckyouwashington was started by @jeffjarvis. I think we need a good solid #fuckyoujeffjarvis to go with, DC, sound good?less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

@tbridge I guess you don't know the difference between Washington and DC. So, #fuckyouwashington. - Signed, a Born and Bred DC Nativeless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

The hashtag also caused some confusion in the Pacific Northwest.

RT @partygnome: @uncutseattle is hoping #FuckYouWashington is directed at DC, not "the state of"less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

#fuckyouwashington cause the Mariners suck. Oh, DC? Ok, the Redskins suck.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Some people used the hashtag not to rage against Capitol Hill, but to vent over local issues — like smoking in bars, closing time at bars, D.C. United's struggles, and ... furloughed chauffeurs?

#FuckYouWashington Im drunk, its 4am, and I want some goddamn beer!less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

#fuckyouwashington for not letting me smoke in the goddamn bar.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

#fuckyouwashington for mistaking cocktail parties for college seminarsless than a minute ago via Tweetbot for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

How many DC metro area chauffeurs furloughed this week? #FUCKYOUWASHINGTONless than a minute ago via Tweetbot for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

And, of course, it wouldn't be Twitter without a few Metro complaints.

A third of the escalators on the metro don't work at any given time #FuckYouWashington is that too location specific?less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

#fuckyouwashington for the Metro sucking so badly all of the goddamned time.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

UPDATE: More cursing from Jarvis!

And now we're talking about the fucking hashtag and fucking Twitter instead of fucking Washington. Nerds. #fuckyouwashingtonless than a minute ago via Echofon Favorite Retweet Reply

UPDATE #2: Seriously, he loves to curse.

Oh, fuck me. RT @TBD: Some DC residents aren't too pleased with @jeffjarvis' #fuckyouwashington campaign. http://tbd.ly/p7P09Eless than a minute ago via Echofon Favorite Retweet Reply

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