Mark It Down: Jan 2009 Is When Conservatives Migrated to Twitter

Item #1:

I’m seeing more conservative people on twitter then there used to be, just me or anyone else?

January 19, 2009

Item #2:

@vannschaffner #tcot #hhrs Cutting to the chase, if Twitter of 2009 existed in 2007, would McCain have gotten more votes? #sgp

January 21, 2009

Item #3:

Karl Rove is on Twitter: @karlrove

January 10, 2009

I’ve written previously about the #TCOT Report, which is a hashtag-based community for Twitter conservatives, and Karl Rove being on Twitter. Both of those posts have been ongoing hits in terms of traffic. And courtesy of, here’s the 30-day trendline for the #TCOT hashtag (last day Jan. 29 is a partial day total):


What I’m seeing is a growing movement by conservatives to leverage the power of Twitter. The #TCOT trendline is an indication of conservative uptake of Twitter. It’s not surprising, because I think Twitter is a natural for conservatives.

Twitter = Real-Time, Community

My view about conservatives and Twitter is formed by the popularity of Rush Limbaugh, believe it or not. Although I tend to be in the blue column in politics, at times I’ve listened to ol’ Rush on the radio over the years. Democratic friends and family would ask, “why?” First and foremost, he’s an entertainer who uses conservatism as his currency. He can crack me up.

But second, there really wasn’t a place to go if you wanted to hear a rich, opinionated commentary on politics. I suppose there were forums out there, but they lacked spontaneity and seemed like heavy, overly threaded diatribes by a lot of people you didn’t want to read. But you could turn on the radio and get opinions on what was happening that day, with callers screened by the Rush Limbaugh program. And their screening was pretty good, I wanted to hear what these dittoheads had to say (mostly…).

Enter Twitter.

Free form snippets of observation about the news of the moment. Rather than take in a threaded conversation, you can consume a bunch of observations, freed from the theme of a forum thread. As news emerges, sourced from traditional media or other twitterers, the hive adjusts.

You also get participation from high-profile types like Michelle Malkin, who I’m guess doesn’t venture into forums much. So you have a community of like-minded people that you want to follow (as opposed to forums), and the views of high-level people are included in that mix.

The Rush Limbaugh program provides the views of a single celebrity and a few callers, with topics reflecting the latest news. Twitter expands on this dramatically. And anyone can get in on the action, not just the few callers that make it onto Rush’s program.

There’s Going to Be Lots to Tweet About

Look at that graph at the top of this post. The tweets tagged with #TCOT build up daily, peaking on January 28, 2009. Which the date that Barack Obama’s stimulus package went  to vote in the House of Representatives. It passed, but received no votes from Republicans. Clearly, conservatives were energized by the bill, and the #TCOT tweets reflect that.

As the party out of power, Republicans are going to have lots of such opportunities for community discussions and rallies. The current base of conservative twitters will have plenty to talk about. And I’m sure they will attract many more users in the months and years ahead.

Of course, if you’re not of the conservative bent, you can ignore all of this. Twitter is good for maintaining your own communities.

But I’m personally not surprised to see a growing conservative movement on Twitter. And hey remember, House elections are coming up in 2010.


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About Hutch Carpenter
Chief Scientist Revolution Credit

3 Responses to Mark It Down: Jan 2009 Is When Conservatives Migrated to Twitter

  1. Find Niches says:

    Glad I found this site – I’m finding the content very useful – thanks!

  2. I think it’s great that all points of view are available on twitter, and the magic is that you can tune in, or tune out, to any sort of channel you want.

    As in real life, you will naturally get a bit of cross pollination. For example, those who like food or wine will have differing political views. That’s a healthy thing in my opinion.

    • Global Patriot – I agree. Twitter will reflect life as we all see it everyday, not just Democratic points of view with a strong marketing orientation. The way conservatives are using Twitter is an example of the service getting beyond just us geeks (if I actually WAS a geek…).

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