The public outcry playing out on social media sites this week is a new twist. During the last shutdown of government operations, in 1995, angry Americans would have had to look up their congressman's address and sit down and write an old-fashioned letter or email. But with the advent of Twitter, popular hashtags like #governmentshutdown and the NBC's "Today" show's #DearCongress let voters log their complaints to all 532 members of Congress at once (there are three vacancies in the House) — provided they stay within the allotted 140 characters or less.
Voters also weighed in on the more humorous side of things, offering pick-up lines that federal workers could use in bars, some of which were advertising cheap drink specials throughout the day to those furloughed.
"The library is closing, mind if I check you out instead?" one person offered with the hashtag #ShutdownPickupLines.
Added another tweeter: "It's not like we have to go to work tomorrow."
For their part, lawmakers used Facebook and Twitter to reiterate long-held talking points, further angering dissenting voters. Republicans said Obama's health care program would be too catastrophic to allow, while Democrats accused Republicans of sending the government into a free fall to appease a small minority.