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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 hashtags.org, here’s the 30-day trendline for the #TCOT hashtag (last day Jan. 29 is a partial day total):

tcot-30-day-trendline-jan-2009

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.

*****

See this post on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=Mark+It+Down+Jan+2009+Is+When+Conservatives+Migrated+to+Twitter&who=everyone

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Karl Rove Is on Twitter

Everyone’s favorite White House adviser, Karl Rove, is now on Twitter: KarlRoveChannel

UPDATE:  Karl Rove has gotten more real. He’s dropped the “Channel” part of his Twitter handle. Now he’s just: KarlRove

Naturally, when  you hear something like this, you want proof. You can see people wondering about this on this FriendFeed entry about this. And here’s a great write up from the #TCOT Report. Below is a screen shot from Rove’s own website:

karl-rove-website-twitter-account

So what is he tweeting? Here are a couple tweets.

#1: I2 Debate: Is George W. Bush the worst American President of the last 50 years? http ://tinyurl.com/7pvwxh

I’ve got to give him credit for tweeting something like that. Even if he is on the show where they discuss it.

#2: @livedesk I give the IL House points for speed although they should have worked this fast on setting a special elect ion to fill the vacancy.

Again, that was a fairly neutral observation.

It’s early for Karl, we’ll see how long he stays with this. Looks serious about it. And he will of course be the recipient of a lot of slams. Of course, he can just not follow people and block as needed.

Very cool in general – he’s not just talking to people in the TV studios.