by Crikey intern Elly Keating

Many stimulating conversations have been struck on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter of late as people await payment from Prime Minister Rudd’s stimulus package.

A growing number of Facebookers are using the social networking site to express their gratitude, or frustration, with Rudd and his $900 stimulus hand outs. In recent weeks, hundreds of status updates have centred on whether or not people have been “stimulated”.

The first signs of stimulus began in the second week of March as students on Youth Allowance began receiving their bonus from the Government. Since then, the references have kept growing.

In fact, Crikey suggests that Rudd’s office plugs into the phenomenon as a great way of gauging voter sentiment on the issue and a hint as to what people are planning to spend the money on.

Ideas for how to spend the money from the Government are varied. The above screenshot suggests that clothes, firearms, cars and bikes will be brought by some people.

It comes at no surprise that others are planning to spend theirs on alcohol.

Facebookers from around the country have been: grateful for “being stimulated by KRudd”; “over-stimulated”; “under-stimulated”; and generally p-ssed off when people are “stimulated” before them. Many are “still waiting for KRudd to stimulate”, while someone else offered “900 good KRudds” for anyone to complete his university assignment. In comes as no surprise then that others had “900 reasons to go to the pub”. My favourite, however, is a good friend who simply wrote in his status: “STIMULATED!!!”. Enough said.

There is even a Facebook fan page for “Rudd’s $950 Stimulus Package” which currently has 41,521 fans. Not to mention at least 106 Facebook groups related to Rudd and the stimulus package. Quite a smaller number are also dedicated to being annoyed with Malcolm Turnbull for trying to stop the stimulus package passing through parliament in February.

And it seems that those on Twitter are feeling the same about Rudd and their economic “stimulation”.

But those on Twitter have moved beyond the so-called “stimulation” and “package” jokes with many users now simply asking everyone else to stop using the PM’s name and these words in the same sentence.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rudd is being portrayed as a sort of generous uncle meets Santa Claus.

But, like the $950 bonus payments, this apparent support for Rudd and his policies may also disappear as quickly as it came. Facebook support groups are deleted just as easily as they are created.

As one Facebooker aptly put it: “I’m not getting it so he lost me. What a joke!”

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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