The #oink Twitter campaign, which occurred on Sunday, Aug. 16, tallied over 10,000 tweets in its first 24 hours, according to Web site wthashtag.com/oink. A tweet is a posting of 140 characters or less on the popular Internet social site. Objectives of the Twitter campaign were to urge the public and the media to drop the reference to “swine flu” and stress that pork is safe.
The #oink designation, known in Twitter jargon as a hashtag, organizes tweets by subject allowing Twitter users to follow the campaign.
The campaign was highly successful in explaining the appropriate use of H1N1 in referring to the infl uenza outbreak.
“We raised a lot of awareness,” says Chris Chinn, pork producer from Clarence, Mo. “People didn’t think it was a negative to refer to it as ‘swine flu’ until they learned the devastating impact it has on pork producers and family farmers. Once they realize, most are cooperative in referring to it as H1N1.”
Campaign supporters are urged to continue with their tweets to reinforce the message among Twitter users and the media. “We want to continue the posting on Twitter because pork industry detractors, including animal-rights activists and vegans, are using the platform to advance their agenda,” Chinn adds.