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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.
Yesterday my fellow blogger here at techRepublican, Nathan Martin, wrote about 5 Web 2.0 applications that conservatives need. Great Article by Nathan and if you are not using those I would highly recommend doing so.
This got me thinking about applications that are currently out there that have changed the way I work and that you may have never heard about it. So below are my Web 2.0 Applications that you have never heard about - but should be using.
Industry leading web project tool allows you to move every piece of your organization/campaign online. You can collaborate with your team in one central location. It is a paid service with a trial offer. If you commit to using this it will transform your groups organization.
One of the biggest drawbacks to using Social Media is updating each and every website with a ‘status’ or ‘blog entry.’ With this service you can update everything from one place. They support just about every social media network you can imagine and allow you to post a status, micro-blog, or blog entry from any medium (cell phone, web, IM, SMS).
Everyone knows about YouTube, but very little know about Vimeo. It is essentially the same platform but without all of the garbage that YouTube has. Plus – the video quality is extremely better then YouTube. If you truly want to push the envelope of new media through online videos then you need to check out Vimeo.
Online streaming video is becoming more and more popular as time goes on and Ustream.tv makes it easy for you to stream “fill in activity” anywhere for free. All you need is a camera and internet connection and you are ready to go. The RNC used their service to broadcast the recent TechSummit for those not able to attend in Washington D.C. and campaigns across the country are using it to bring unprecedented access to their candidates and their cause.
Yammer is Twitter for your organization or campaign. It is completely private and basically allows your campaign or company to share thoughts, links, and information. Its completely secure and only those with a valid email address for your group or campaign can register. The real benefit Yammer has is that like Twitter, it encourages people to post updates because they're informal and small. So its a great way for a campaign to keep everyone more up to date, whereas with email they hold off to more formally construct communications.
I would be interested to hear what you are using for your group or campaign that is not a mainsream Web 2.0 Application.
Someone in my local party approached me and asked matter of factly, what do I need to keep in touch with social networking without getting overwhelmed? I thought about this and thought that while some of us just do everything, what are the top five platforms that conservatives can't go without?
A good platform for groups, causes, and friends. It is also broad in the use by members, unlike MySpace, and doesn't attract nearly as many "spammers."
Even IF you never want to tweet, the ability to follow major players in the conservative world AND actually coorespond with many of them is outstanding. In fact, put that together with the outstanding links and research by some groups like #tcot or #techgop and it is a social networking package combined with news and research.
Ok, even if you are not a Young Republican, you need to at least take a look at what Moshe Starkman has done on his own with his own money. Great platform, constant updates, and the functionality of connecting with YRs nationwide is indespensible.
A really great service for photo sharing. Whether through your website, or through social networking, an indespensible service that provides easy use and sharing of photos that are important to you as well as seeing photos of friends or random people on flickr as well.
So, you come upon a conservative website that you love, what do you do? You click a thumbs up button that you have downloaded on your toolbar, and now your friends and like minded strangers have the ability to stumble on that site you selected. I know that there are other services out their that do similar things. Delicious.com, Digg, and technorarti, being among them, my favorite is SU. However, you need at least one of these to make a difference!