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#ShutdownPickUpLines, also known as #GovShutdownPickUpLines, is a Twitter hashtag
associated with tongue-in-cheek pick up lines relating to a large-scale closure of the United States government. Though it first surfaced during the debt-ceiling crisis in early April 2011, the hashtag saw a resurgence following the shutdown of the federal government in October 2013.


In early April 2011, as the congressional debate[1] over the federal budget approached the deadline with neither party willing to make compromises, speculations of a possible government shutdown began circulating in the U.S. news media. On April 8th, the day before the shutdown would go into effect, Virginia-based Twitter user delrayser tweeted out one of the earliest instances of hashtag as #GvtShutdownPickUpLines, referencing how a shutdown would leave workers deemed “nonessential” without a job and pay for its duration with a pick up line declaring the only nonessential aspect of the person to be their pants. The tweet was retweeted more than 400 times and was copied by the D.C. culture blog Famous D.C.[19] approximately an hour and a half later.


Throughout the day, both #ShutdownPickUpLines and #GovtShutdownPickUpLines[3] were used hundreds of times and became trending topics on Twitter, while various compilations of tweets were featured on NPR[4], the Huffington Post[5], Federal News Radio[6] , ABC News[7], The Daily Caller[8] and The Daily Beast.[9] In the following days, however, the hashtag waned quickly as the Congress and the White House reached an agreement[10] at 11 p.m. on April 8th and avoided the shutdown by a close margin.

2013 Shutdown

On September 30th, 2013, #ShutdownPickUpLines was brought back to life by National Journal correspondent Elaje Izadi, who asked her 3,500-plus followers to share their own pick up lines with the hashtag. That day, it was used more than 2,600 times according to Topsy Analytics.[11] As the shutdown continued throughout the first week of October, compilations of both #ShutdownPickUpLines and #GovShutdownPickUpLines tweets were featured on the Huffington Post[12], the Washington Post,[13] NationalJournal,[14]NPR[15], USA Today[16], The Daily Beast[17] and CBS News[18] among many others.

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