What's Behind the Right's Current Twitter Advantage + Using #TCOT vs. No Hashtags Whatsoever

Practicing Politics in the Twitter Era: If we are to speak of the age of online politics -- and I am not certain that we should -- let's say we've lived through the Blog Era (2001-04), the YouTube Era (2005-08) and now we are in the Twitter Era (2008-?). This screen shot of a blog post at Media Matters (of all places) juxtaposing tweets from Newt Gingrich and Matt Cooper -- proof alone that everyone in Washington is using Twitter -- provides a useful snapshot of the how Twitter works alongside the blogosphere (rumors of its death still exaggerated) in moving political messages online:


So the Right had a vibrant 'sphere in the post-9/11 Warblogging Period, which drifted after the 2004 election, as frustrated soon-to-be-ex-Pajamas Media bloggers can tell you. The Left owned the YouTube era, which happened to coincide, not coincidentally, with President Bush's second term. Their political blog infrastructure was developed largely on the participation of bloggers and blog readers, not anyone using Twitter yet, most of the time because Twitter did not exist or see any significant usage until SXSW 2007. (You know who I can't find on Twitter? MoveOn.)

For at least a year now, the Right again has been leading the way on an Internet-based communication platform. So far it's to organize for Conservatism somewhat broadly as a unifying cause. Top Conservatives on Twitter is not quite a MoveOn for the Right -- a whispered-of but ultimately mythical animal not unlike the "Party-in-a-laptop" idea popular with some Neoliberals -- but it could have more value as a list than Gingrich's own Drill Here, Drill now efforts and even the (also short-time) #dontgo message it spawned last August. These new conservative projects are often built around Twitter itself. Sometimes this results in really annoying tweets, but at this point the right is doing more interesting things in this space. Twitter is smaller than Facebook, but makes up for it in volume of press hits (hopefully someone with Nexis can back this up for me) and news reports that its traffic is about to go all hockey-stick. Maybe it will go Galt as well.

Conservatives also have other, much older infrastructure whose blogging component counts a few successes but still relies on decidedly Web 1.0 websites, and so hasn't taken as big a hit in the Great Blog Crash of 2008-09. And like companies of the dot com crash (including Google itself), the concepts and websites that clawed their way out of the rubble did not and will not bring back substantial returns in the short run. Twitter, by its sheer simplicity, is kind of a Long Tail product in that we can (and often seem to actually do) use it in spare moments between the day, which means its audience could approach that of e-mail (especially since, you know, you need an e-mail account to join Twitter). Either could build that kind of reach, depending on who experiments more through the rest of the arbitrary era proper.

Using #TCOT vs. No Hashtags Whatsoever:

According to Internet marketing blog Hubspot, the right's #TCOT momentum means it vastly outnumbers the hashtags left-leaning Twitter users and bloggers... er, aren't listed as using, not here at least. Hmm. So which hashtags do the left use?

    Pause for dramatic effect.

Turns out the left-verse doesn't do hashtags at all, that I could see from checking these accounts over the weekend:

My question for the Left is whether the port side of the Twitterverse will adopt the same habit of hashtags that moves stories -- and if it does, whether it will even be led by the Kos-Greenwald-Marshall-Hamsher-Klein-Stoller-Yglesias Netroots movement. (Note: In the comments at Blog P.I. a fellow Twittizen points out there is a website collecting progressive hashtags: Tweetleft. And as she observes, organized hashtag use lies beyond "'the usual' accounts.")

And my question for the Right is whether they know any of the Top 5 Conservatives on Twitter, because I haven't got a clue.

Benchmark note: As of Sunday afteroon, Markos Moulitsas (2,411) has 7,288 fewer followers than John Culberson (9,699).

Adapted from a post at Blog P.I.

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End of the YouTube Era?

What inspires your claim that the "YouTube era" of politics ended last year?


by Twitter, mostly. Blogs continue, but there is less excitement and growth around them. I think we're seeing the limits of YouTube -- many dull videos that few will ever watch and keep the staff busy. Twitter now makes things hyperconnected -- blogs and YouTube alike. It's all arbitrary, as acknowledged, but I think it's a useful way to look at it. If there are other viewpoints, I'd be interested in hearing those, too.

other viewpoints

I think you are better than this post. Just beacuse cable news is Twitter-crazy doesn't mean everyone else is. Alexa shows that traffic spiked in Jan and Feb but growth has slowed to near stagnation in March. And more generally, I would question the wisdom of holding up 140-word-limit microblogging as a central piece of the right's online resurgence. gopastroturf.blogspot.com

Twitter Is The New Britney

a once hot object now the subject of derision.

It doesn't matter to me, whether you're a liberal or a conservative, a celebrity or a joe-the-plumber, what you are eating, kissing, or farting. I'm just not that in to you.

Of course conservatives love Twitter

There's so much less depth. ;)

Look there!!

.. It's a flashy new Tech Object that is going to lead the GOP out of the wilderness.

Kos and Eschaton and Josh Marshall feature in-depth stories that drive news cycles, they have efforts by citizen journalists with deeply held convictions and deep wells of knowledge or presence, you know, substance.

There've been several discussions here that demanded a read to the very last post.

Twitter?  Was Koolz for a few weeks, then you just get bored with the lack of any there, there.

Kiinda like the Conservative Movement.


Kos and Atrios do "in-depth" stories? Count me suspicious.

I was

..comparing them to Twitter.  Duh.

You should visit those sites more often, so I don't have to count you as suspicious. 

Just as an example, in today's effort at "Citizen Journalism" at KOS, there's a must-read by one of the more regular KOS contributors called "Reforming the Big Three".  In depth analysis, excellent points, illuminating the issue with graphs and charts I was not aware of.  Recommend it.


And Atrios' recent continuing series on the implications and directions of inner-city mass transit and light rail vs. suburban beltways and highways has really made me me think about the topic, and encouraged over 3,000 posts on the site in the last 5 or 6 weeks.

Methinks that anyone who believes that twittering is going to be a major game-changer for the Right is looking for signs of hope.

you have got to read Nate over on 538

his comments on GM are great. ;-)


Anyone else getting sick and tired of this Washington inside baseball crap?  Hey for all of you who live in Washington and think that you're freaking Twitter follower numbers matter wake up.  These early adopters will listen to you on any new format of communication. 

Yea twitter is cool, but twitter is not the answer.  Twitter is a tool.  Tools are not solutions, tools are ways that we can help to solve the problem but are not the solutions to the problem.  If you think that, then you too are a tool.   

Not to put too fine a point on it, Shawn

...or point out the obvious either, of course, but if you're "sick and tired of this Washington baseball crap" then one must ask one's self precisely why you would wish to frequent a political website? 


Hopefully the "zing" was meant sarcastically, because something effective would be to point out how Cooper and those supporting his tweet are twits who aren't being logical. Twitter might help you there, but the message would be gone in a few minutes so why not just do things the old fashioned way?

I guess sometimes

Sometimes I wonder. 

But seriously I thought this forum would be a bit more broad by trying to take conservatives from across the country to share ideas about how to rebuild the party, talk about what is working in the grassroots and how state candidates are doing. 

Instead I get updates on how many twitter friends some washington twit has. 

Most of the RNC's and the parties problem come from inside washington dopes who haven't really worked on a campaign in years and I thought we'd get away from this in this forum. 

LoL, fair enough ;-)

Perhaps I can use the topic as an opportunity speak to both your grassroots interest and to WB's inquiry about whether anyone knows who the Top 5 Conservatives on Twitter are.

I started using Twitter around and about a year ago after Soren Dayton made his name and Twitter household words.  If you're not familiar with the story, just google Soren+Dayton+Twitter+flap - but I digress.

In the summer of 2008, Nancy Pelosi shut down the House of Representatives - literally - while the Republicans were still debating the Energy Bill (the bill that prompted 80% of Americans polled to indicate that they wanted to "Drill Here, Drill Now" - ancient history, of course, but significant at the time).  This prompted a lot of Twitter users, most significantly Republican House members on Twitter, to begin using the hashtag #dontgo to aggregate tweets about the "Republican Revolution" aka the "Don't Go, Congress" as the House Republicans spent their 2008 summer break in the people's House continuing the energy debate after Pelosi turned off the lights and the C-SPAN cameras.  Video started going up on QIK from Culberson's Apple iPhone, and average people like me got to hang out with the inside baseball crowd as well as our representatives.  There was a wee bit of a movement that sprung from these interactions on Twitter, and Kristen Soltis posted a good article about why it was significant here.

I can pretty much draw a straight line from the #dontgo movement to the #teaparty movement.  #dontgo was the first time I'd ever in my life seen actual Republicans, wearing suits and polo shirts, actually out protesting and demonstrating against Nancy Pelosi's iron-fisted anti-energy policy.  In the streets no less.  These were real honest-to-God grassroots people, and for a real hoot you can check out the ones in Michigan

As for the top conservatives on Twitter, I can talk about a few of them whom I know virtually if not literally.  #1 Nansen Malin is a dedicated member of the Washington State GOP, so she plays Washington State inside baseball of the Left Coast variety.  #2 Brooks Bayne is a Los Angeles entrepreneur and tech guy who's also a conservative activist and helped organize the L.A. Tea Party grassroots protest.  Brooks' greatest claim to fame is his great sense of humor along with an unflagging willingness to politely debate the leftists who used to try to overtake the hashtags with a combination of hostile, rude, ugly or just plain irritating tweets.  #3 Bill Austin is an Arizona systems engineer, all around tech guy and grassroots activist.  #4 Rick Abbott is a Kentuckian, tech guy and grassroots activist.  Nansen's the only one I know in the top 5 who's actually a Republican Reptile party official.  I don't know #5 Scott McKay yet, but #6 Radioblogger is Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson, producer of the Hugh Hewitt radio talk show which I listen to every afternoon/evening around this time in the 3-6 pm slot on the Left Coast.  So all the top 5 conservatives on Twitter are from the West and the Midwest, all are grassroots activists and all represent "average center/right people" and not "the politicians" in one fashion or another.  This, in a nutshell, is why Twitter matters.

I created a link for you to use in Tweetgrid if you'd like to view all the tweets for #tcot, #hhrs (Hugh Hewitt Radio Show), #dontgo and #teaparty to see what people are saying in case you'd like to follow any of them or just follow the threads in general, here.  Hopefully it works...and I hope you don't need a Twitter account to use it - if I'm wrong, ah well I tried.

Cheers to all my old #dontgo colleagues, and Happy #Teaparty season to all my new ones.  If I can help you out or you just want to say hi, you can tweet me on Twitter any time right here


Use of technology in politics...

The use of technology in politics has become a major part of the game. Politicians all over the world have use it extensively for their election campaigns. The famous Obama blog is now a glittering example in this regard now Twitter is getting famous and useful.

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Twitter would definately be

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Anyone else getting sick and

Anyone else getting sick and tired of this Washington inside baseball crap?  Hey for all of you who live in Washington and think that you're freaking Twitter follower numbers matter wake up.  These early adopters will listen to you on any new format of communication.