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Ed Balls Day
Who Is Ed Balls?
Ed Balls is a former UK politician. At the time of his infamous tweet, he was the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Member of Parliament for Morley and Outwood. He lost his seat at the 2015 general election, and left politics to resume his career as an economist. He is a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, and a Visiting Professor at King's College, London.
If you visit his blog, you can see that he is a man with a sense of humour. His blog describes him as :
"Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, Visiting Professor to the Policy Institute at King’s College London, Norwich City FC Chairman and contestant on Strictly Come Dancing 2016. Dad, cook, pianist, economist. Former Cabinet Minister & Shadow Chancellor."
He sounds like such a nice chap, doesn't he? Exactly the kind of person to take a social media embarrassment in his stride.
What Else Did Ed Balls Do After Leaving Politics?
Well, he seems to have traded on his notoriety very well. In addition to the more serious pursuits, he became Chairman of Norwich City F.C.,starred on Strictly Come Dancing (and completely stole the show), and became a patron of the British Stammering Association. He also racked up a few points on his driving license, which the tabloid press were all over, but no-one's perfect, right?
Ed Balls & Katya Jones: Gangnam Style
When Is Ed Balls Day?
Ed Balls Day is on 28th April, and it has been celebrated since that fateful day in 2011, when the first Ed Balls Day was created.
What happened on Ed Balls day?
The Rt. Hon. Mr Balls was new to Twitter, and he was trying out some of its features. He wanted to see if anyone was talking about him on Twitter, and so he typed his name into what he thought was the "Search" box. It wasn't. Due to his confusion, he ended up tweeting "Ed Balls", and Twitter, well, did what Twitter does.
Why is Ed Balls day famous?
Before #edballsday was even a thing, Mr Balls was renowned for having the most unfortunate name in politics. Ed Balls. That is not a name to be taken seriously. In fairness, he was actually a good MP, but I feel that his name might have held him back a little. Can you imagine a newspaper quote being attributed to him? “This idea that Labour in government thought that you should simply stand back and allow the free market to operate but distribute the gains progressively is a false and rather lazy caricature." - Balls.
I suppose you're not going to forget when he gets quoted in the media, although you may not remember what it was that he actually said...
But to the main part of the answer. Before the days of the World Wide Web, we would never have even heard about someone famous struggling to find a media item. They'd perhaps ask a helpful librarian or someone in their media team to track down the information. But nowadays, we have all the world's information at the click of a mouse. The only problem is that everyone else can see all that info, including your bloopers.
Ed Balls has over 244,000 followers on Twitter (I wonder how many of these are as a result of Ed Balls Day?), and it is pretty straightforward to see why it got noticed. And remarked upon. And retweeted. The Twitterati had a field day. We loved it so much that we celebrate it every year!
How Do We Celebrate Ed Balls Day?
Usually by posting a tweet that reads "Ed Balls". It seems to me that it would be more appropriate to tweet our own names, but I'm not going to mess with tradition. Of course, there are many variations on the theme, with people proudly tweeting their artistic and comedic efforts. This link provides just a taster of the delights on offer every April 28th:
The UK version of Cards Against Humanity has a special "Ed Balls." card. It is literally impossible to take this joke too far.
He made it in to Cards Against Humanity, that's how famous he is!
Now That Is How You OWN Your Mistakes!
That's right, Ed Balls took it in good humour and joined in the fun. In 2016, he baked a cake of his tweet. What a Legend!
Will We Ever Forget Ed Balls Day?
Why does Ed Balls day matter?
Ed Balls Day represents all that is wonderful about British culture: the ability to laugh at our own mistakes, our desire to gently mock those in power who make a faux-pas, and our propensity for carrying a joke on long after most others have stopped laughing, gone home, and forgotten all about it.
But it also serves as a warning. Another of our former MPs, Louise Mensch, has a reputation for putting her foot in it on Twitter. She is a controversial figure, because of her right-wing views, and her detractors fell over themselves with joy when she made a similar Twitter-based error.
Louise Mensch – the gaffe prone gift to social media that keeps on giving
Yep, you guessed it. That's her search history. The moral of this story is "engage brain prior to operating keyboard". Because the Internet is an unforgiving place, and nothing ever really disappears from it. Or, as someone so aptly put it:
Those who forget their search history are doomed to retweet it.
Happy Ed Balls Day!
So that's the story, the man, the legend. Have a great Ed Balls Day, and always check before hitting "return"!
If you have any hilarious examples of social media blunders, or ideas for celebrating Ed Balls Day, please let me know in the comments!
Will You Celebrate Ed Balls Day?
Will you be celebrating Ed Balls Day?
Update: 27th May 2017
Well, that is amazing. Less than one month after Ed Balls day, another politician fell into the same trap. When will they learn?!