How #EdBalls won #EdBallsDay: In Defence of the Oddity

 by Winning Over the Public

#EdballsDay is a bizarre phenomenon in the United Kingdom. On the 28th of May, CyberBrits celebrate the fact that Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls accidentally tweeted his own name while attempting to search twitter for an article circulating about him.
After realising his gaffe, the Labour heavyweight did not delete the tweet, like many would have. To date it has over 60,000 interactions, including 40,000+ retweets.
In their guide Ed Balls Day: What is it and should you care?, The Independent advise:

Should I care about it? Probably not. You’re here now but there’s always the Baltimore riots, the Nepal earthquake or the impending execution of the Bali Nine you could be reading about. Sorry to get all “big picture”. “

But the amazing thing about #EdBallsDay, a beloved twitter phenomenon, is that it highlights a very big picture in the UK:

that people value humility, and connection, in their politicians.

In Westminster politics, many claim that damaging policies can be and are a matter of life and death. Many are afraid that winter fuel poverty, disability assessments and xenophobia are a threat to their lives and livelihoods, as well as to their families and communities. That fear extends to fear of who has the power to implement these policies and what kind of person they are. Do they have any perspective on the efforts of finding work as disabled? Do they know that your skin colour can threaten your chance of earning a subsistence wage? These are real worries that millions face, and Ed Balls has given them hope. He singlehandedly demonstrated  to those millions that he has experiences they understand, and raised some small probability that he might understand some of theirs.

So if you’re still wondering whether you should know or care about #EdBallsDay, maybe you should just tweet your own name and see how many people reach out to you, or feel the size of the community that has sprung up around one politicians technophobia. Ed won over the public and in return they gave him a day named in his honour, and the best rewards are those that came to those who expected nothing in return.

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