While the "Party of No" desperately seeks something to say yes to, their fight to rebrand themselves is met by aggressive social media opposition by the Redditors. While bookmarking sites the likes of Digg have withered on the digital vine over the past few years, Reddit seems to be not only the one with staying power, but the one whose "up" or "down" votes can sway public opinion quickly.
According to a Business Insider report, "with 400 million unique visitors (and more than 37 billion page views) in 2012, Reddit is one of the most popular websites in the world." However the oddest thing about this online superpower is it's driven mostly by anonymous users, the silent majority who've found a soapbox.
The Reddit construct is based on "karma"points and a democratic system. Popular posts and comments are upvoted and receive karma, while unpopular ones are downvoted and lose karma. Users with the most karma (especially comment karma) are the superstars of this online community and exert significant power in moving the needle on debate.
As a "real-time cultural Zeitgeistometer." noted AdAge's Simon Dumenco, if enough votes are cast for any particular topic, there's a good chance that post will be repurposed on Gawker or Buzzfeed 12 hours or so later.
Reddit's longtime tagline has been "the front page of the internet," but it could just as easily be "the crib sheet for weary bloggers who need to hit page-view quotas."
Eric CantorSo, in the case of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor threatening to repeal 'Obamacare' next week, one has to ask where Redditors weighed in on the issue. Well, when the question: "How has Obamcare helped you?" was posed on the site last September, within just a few hours over 1500 comments flooded in with stories of how everyday users had personally benefited from the provisions laid out in the Affordable Care Act (the bill's official name).
A number of young Redditors offered examples of how their personal health and finances benefited from sustained coverage under their parents’ plans thanks to the stipulation that allows young people to be placed on or remain on their parents' insurance until they turn 26.
Others noted other features such as preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and the elimination of lifetime insurance limits.
However where Redditors really seem to gain the most traction is when they resort to their favorite medium - memes - to express their discontent. Case in point was Papa John's and how the woeful founder of that pizza chain felt about the national health program.
Founder and CEO John Schnatter suggested that due to Obamacare he would have to raise the cost of a pizza somewhere between $0.11 to $0.14. He would then have no other alternative but to pass this cost onto the consumers in order to protect his shareholders' "best interests."
The blowback from the Reddit community was significantly harsh, particularly since they perceived that Papa John's was very cavalier in previously giving away 2 million pizzas last year during the NFL season as part of a customer loyalty program.
This was followed up by a few other scathing memes that were even more critical of Mr. Schnatter's stance on the ACA.
In the Huffington Post's negative editorial titled, "Papa John's Obamacare Stance Costs Company It's Reputation," they made point that "nobody wants a side of politics with their pizza."
The national pizza chain's YouGov BrandIndex Buzz score -- which the site uses as an indication of brand favorability -- dropped to four at the end of November, down from 32 on election day.
In an effort to recoup some of the negativity initiated by the Redditors, Schnatter back-pedaled with a half-hearted clarification to HuffPo.
So, while Mr. Cantor tries rallies his Party of No troops with guns a' blazing in an attempt to shoot down Obamacare, he might be wise to review the havoc wrought by the Redditor community in this recent case. With approval ratings in his home state of Virginia dipping as low as 27 percent, he might want to think twice before the slings and arrows of outrageous Redditors' fortune start to retaliate. Or have they already started?