By Sal Gentile and Madeleine Martino Fox
A key component of the success of Up w/ Chris's first year has been our incredible online community. Each week, thousands of smart, dedicated fans gather on Twitter to join our on-air discussion. They call themselves #uppers, and the growth of the hashtag has been nothing less than a phenomenon.
Mentions of the #uppers hashtag on Twitter have skyrocketed from just 11 the first time the hashtag was used in October 2011 to over 7,000 when Paul Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney's running mate in August. And the hashtag trends nationally for virtually the entirety of every episode of Up w/ Chris. As The New York Times put it in a profile of the show in June, "Like Deadheads or Trekkies, fans of the program cluster under a common nickname: Uppers."
To celebrate our one-year anniversary last weekend, we flew Wyeth Ruthven, the creator of the #uppers hashtag, to New York to watch the program -- and to tabulate his well-known hourly counts of #uppers mentions -- from the Up w/ Chris studio. While he was here, we talked to Wyeth about the birth and stunning growth of the #uppers hashtag, the milestones in the growth of the #uppers community and how the weekly #uppers conversation has changed the way viewers interact with the show. As Wyeth put it: "Up with Chris Hayes is like a conversation with footnotes."
:: Sal Gentile (@salgentile) is a segment & digital producer for Up w/ Chris Hayes, and Madeleine Martino Fox is a video producer. ::