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Liam Barker And #liambarker: How An Opinion Post Went Viral One Weekend In The Wonderful World Of Twitter

September 24, 2012

Readers, it’s been a crazy weekend here on Same Difference. On Saturday afternoon I wrote this post on the case of Liam Barker. In a matter of hours it had hundreds of hits. So I made a decision to start a hashtag and try to get it trending on Twitter. The hashtag is not quite trending yet, but in what felt like no time at all the post had been ReTweeted and linked on Facebook by everyone from my best friend to Polly Toynbee.

To my great joy I discovered that Polly Toynbee’s Tweets are linked anywhere that is anywhere in the world of mainstream political websites. So here’s a tip- if you want a Tweet to go viral, send it to the most famous person in your field that you can think of!

The Liam Barker post has now had over 1100 hits daily for each of the last two days. Twitter and Facebook truly are the two most amazing things ever to happen to bloggers and journalists and anyone who tells you otherwise is usually an old fashioned adult who has probably never used either of them! I think it went as viral as the 16th birthday party in Holland that, unlike the case of Liam Barker, made headlines on the BBC this weekend.

I was and still am deeply affected by the case of Liam Barker. If you haven’t already heard the details please, please read the original post linked above.

The point of writing this post is not only to show off the number of hits I have had this weekend. It is not only to sincerely thank every one of the amazing people who shared the Liam Barker post and helped to send it viral.

After seeing the great success of my one simple little post, I have decided to turn it into a full Twitter campaign against benefit assessments for those who are too severely disabled, or too seriously ill, to ever be physically capable of working.

The good news is that if you wish to, you can help. If you know someone in a similar situation to Liam Barker, please tell their story using the #liambarker hashtag.

If you know someone who has appealed against a Work Capability Assessment that they should never have had in the first place, please tell their story using the #liambarker hashtag.

If you know someone who isn’t yet a Liam Barker, but will be unless we put a stop to unnecessary assessments, please tell their story using the #liambarker hashtag.

If you share my views on this story, please, please join the fight to make sure that there will never, ever be another Liam Barker.

Today I’ll be Tweeting the post to disability charities and celebrities who are sensitive to disability issues. If you wish to, please Tweet the link to the original post to any celebrity or disability charity you can think of.

Over the next few days I’d like to collect all the Tweets in one place so if you can use Storify, please let me know because I don’t have a clue where to start with it.

Finally, newspapers, if you have the space in your online editions, please, please cover the Liam Barker story or this campaign and help to spread the word.

This can never happen again and if we don’t spread the word as far and wide as possible we are, in some small way, allowing it to.

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