The roiling debate over a government shutdown has extended to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, with tens of thousands of fed-up Americans registering their disgust with federal lawmakers for shutting down the government.

Tweeters called members of Congress, quote, "stupid" and "idiots" who need to "grow up."

The outcry playing out in social media is a new twist in the public discourse on politics. During the last government shutdown, 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 #DearCongress let voters log their complaints to all the members of Congress at once, provided they stay within the allotted 140 characters or less.

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