August 28, 2016

Why Hasn't #AtheistVoter Caught On?

VotingI know there are a number of websites that help users track the popularity of various hashtags on Twitter over various intervals of time. I think it would be great to be able to enter a few hashtags, the desired time frame, and see them graphed based on frequency of use. Unfortunately, I have yet to find one that provides this sort of information free of charge. I'm only a little curious, and I do not see myself paying for this capability.

I bring this up with the #AtheistVoter hashtag in mind. I've mentioned the #AtheistVoter campaign here a few times since I became aware of it in 2014. I thought it was a great idea, and I hoped that it might help to increase the political activity of atheists in the U.S. From what I can tell, it has still not caught on in any meaningful way. This may have something to do with people not knowing about it or the relatively haphazard way in which most of us who have been using it have been using it (i.e., as individuals without any sort of coordinated effort). But what has been the biggest surprise is just how unpopular the hashtag seems to be.

As mentioned, I have not been willing to pay for the sort of metrics that would allow me to compare this hashtag against others over time to look at trends. I have, however, looked at some metrics that assess the popularity of individual hashtags at one point in time. I used RiteTag to generate a report on #AtheistVoter this morning. The numbers I obtained indicated that #AtheistVoter generates fewer than 1 unique tweet per hour, an overall hashtag exposure of less than 100 per hour, and is retweeted less than 1 time per hour.

I realize that these numbers aren't going to mean much without a point of comparison, so I ran a similar report on the #manspreading hashtag. It showed the same numbers. Thus, #AtheistVoter does not appear to be generating any more use on Twitter than #manspreading. I was actually surprised that #manspreading was not more popular than it was because I see more activity there when I look at in Twitter than I do on the #AtheistVoter tag. Anyway, it should be noted that since these RiteTag reports are static snapshots at one point in time, I believe they fluctuate throughout the day. Repeating the comparison might produce different results.

In any case, I think it is fairly safe to say that the #AtheistVoter hashtag is not being widely used. I think that's a shame. I am going to try to use it more often and see what I can do to spread the word about a campaign with a simple but worthwhile goal:
The purpose of AtheistVoter is simple: Ensure that elected officials know that atheists, agnostics, and other nonreligious constituents vote–and vote in huge numbers–so they can no longer simply ignore us or take our votes for granted.
You can learn more about the #AtheistVoter campaign here.
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