Owner of @Hawaii Twitter handle bears brunt of #BoycottHawaii tweets

Updated: Mar. 16, 2017 at 6:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the wake of a ruling Wednesday against President Trump's revised travel ban, #BoycottHawaii soon went viral.

Some users tagged the Hawaii Tourism Authority in their tweets while other tagged @Hawaii.

But the owner of @Hawaii is not an organization, state representative or even a tourism official.

He's a normal Hawaii citizen — Ryan Ozawa — who found the spike in popularity to his Twitter handle rather amusing.

"Most of these people are just trying to vent, either express their love or their anger at Hawaii. And they're trying to be funny and they're trying to be clever," Ozawa said. "I think they're funny, perhaps in a different way that they think they're funny, but i'm enjoying it too, so it's a win-win.

Ozawa said he was on his lunch break at his office when his phone started going off "like crazy" with Twitter notifications.

Trump supporters and opponents appeared to inadvertently target his handle with both hate and praise believing it was directed toward the state, rather than at a single person.

Back in 2006, before Twitter was hot, Ozawa signed up and made @Hawaii his username. He has kept it the same since then and intends to keep it even after the heated discussion dies down.

Although Ozawa is bearing the brunt of hate towards the Aloha State, he doesn't seem to mind the increase in attention. In fact, Ozawa sees this as an opportunity to reach out and help others understand the importance of the issue.

"When people do discover that there's just a regular person on the end of this particular handle, I think it's an opportunity to have a more human conversation," Ozawa said. He feels people respond differently to the human interaction and it's an opportunity for empathy.

It is unclear just how long #BoycottHawaii will remain viral, but Ozawa says, like any other news maker, it will probably blow over in about a day.

Ozawa often appears on Hawaii News Now Sunrise to discuss tech advances. Click here for the Geek Beat.

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