The #Gwinnett Effect: Mastering Twitter One Outraged Student at a Time

The #Gwinnett Effect: Mastering Twitter One Outraged Student at a Time

On February 16, 2015, an unfortunate mix of rain and steadily dropping temperatures had Georgians north of Atlanta preparing for the worst. As evening drew near and ice began to form on trees, announcements of school closures for the following day began rolling in.

Gwinnett County public schools were not among them, even after the county was included in Governor Nathan Deal’s state of emergency declaration. In response, students took to Twitter to express their frustration.

It started small, but by nine that evening, the response had gained enough steam to rank second in trending topics on Twitter not just in the Southeast, but worldwide. The outrage didn’t die down quickly either; Gwinnett and #CloseGwinnett continued to trend on and off through Wednesday due to a forecast of subzero windchills.


The sudden popularity of a relatively unknown county in the American southeast had many Twitter users baffled. Some were irritated that their newsfeeds were clogged with tweets about such trivial topic, but most users were amused and even joined the cause, retweeting and using the hashtag to boost the students’ message.

The issue gained such attention that when Gwinnett finally announced it would be closing school on Tuesday due to inclement weather Local WSB news personality Jovita Moore chimed in on Twitter with a hashtagged nod to the fuss the students were making.

Of course, the official statement is that the tweet frenzy had no effect on the county’s decision to close schools on Tuesday, but the response the students got in such a short time is clear evidence of the power of social media. This small group of disgruntled students managed to reach at least 40 thousand people in just a few hours.

You may be wondering what the point of this story is. It’s this: social media is a tool that you need just as much as any of the other in your SEO toolbox. If Twitter can connect a small number of students Irritated about a snow day with tens of thousands of people, including news outlets, what can it do for you?

The specific reasons why the world took such notice of a little county in Georgia don’t matter as much as the fact that they did. So if you’ve ever doubted what social media could do for you, just remember #CloseGwinnett.

By: Victoria Vener