How a Wonky Protest Sign Went Viral

One well-placed Twitter pic did the trick
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2011 6:43 PM CDT
How a Wonky Protest Sign Went Viral
The sign in all its wonky glory.   (https://twitter.com/#!/bfurnas)

(Newser) – It's pushing 50 words and thus not your usual protest sign, but an image from Occupy Wall Street nevertheless managed to get into wide circulation over the last few days. A short version of the tale: Ben Furnas took the photo of a young woman holding the sign and posted it on his Twitter feed. It then got picked up and reposted by Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing and took off from there. (Full text of the sign: "It's wrong to create a mortgage-backed security filled with loans you know are going to fail so that you can sell it to a client who isn't aware that you sabotaged it by intentionally picking the misleadingly rated loans most likely to be defaulted upon")

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That line comes from this column by Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic, who has since written about seeing his words show up on a sign in another column here. At his Reuters blog, Felix Salmon loves everything about the sign, especially the language. "It’s funny, on the sign—something true, and accurate, and touching, and grammatical, and far too long to be a slogan ..." he writes. At Think Progress, Matthew Yglesias (in a post headlined "It's Not How Many Followers You Have, It's Who Follows You") explains that Furnas may have only 300-plus followers, but many are young movers and shakers in political media. Add it all up, and you get a viral photo. (Read more Occupy Wall Street stories.)

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