August 21st, 2009
12:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Liberal bloggers admit conservatives have upper hand on Twitter

Which party has the upper hand on Twitter?
Which party has the upper hand on Twitter?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Liberal bloggers established online political activism, besting their conservative rivals during President George W. Bush's eight years in office. But conservatives are now finding great success 140 characters at a time. Even this week, the conservative organization Club For Growth promoted their Twitter account on their $1.2 million ad campaign against health care.

Even though President Obama and national Democrats use Twitter – the social micro blog that everyone from Ashton Kutcher and Shaquille O'Neal to Chuck Grassley and Newt Gingrich often use to directly speak to followers – Republicans have embraced the technology. And with major policy issues being debated and the midterm elections right around the corner, liberal bloggers acknowledge the GOP has the upper hand when it comes to using 140 character messages known as "tweets" to influence the discussion.

"While it is obvious the progressive blogosphere is superior, we are being out-organized on Twitter," said Gina Cooper, a blogger who helped organize Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of online liberal activists that met last week in Pittsburgh. "There is some catching up to do on the progressive side."

Tracy Viselli, who attended Netroots Nation, agreed with Cooper and admitted that liberal bloogers are ceding this valuable territory to conservatives.

"Twitter is a news funnel," she said. "Conservatives are very tightly knit and getting their message out very well."

When Republicans were in control of the largest bullhorn in the world – the White House – there was little impetus for conservative activists to exploit a platform to express their views.

"Conservatives have long had this inferiority complex in the online world," said Matt Lewis, a conservative who writes for PoliticsDaily.com. "That is because Republicans have been in power when the blogosphere was invented.

Lewis added, "The ability to effectively utilize the Internet in the political realm works very well for the have-nots. It does not work so well for the establishment."

To that end, Republicans are working overtime to establish a beachhead, online.

"Twitter is the best example of the most modern technology and how folks are organizing," David All, a GOP new media consultant who has helped galvanize the party on Twitter, told CNN. He points to the success of hashtags – a popular way to keep track of a conversation – on Twitter. “#TCOT” (top conservatives on Twitter) has seen much more success on Twitter than “#P2 (progressives 2.0).  See stats from Hashtag.org here: TCOT vs P2.

Cooper is quick to defend progressives: “Conservatives are always good at pushing that one concise message. The death panels are easy to tweet. The explanation for why there are no death panels and making that explanation takes much more explanation. You can’t do that on Twitter.”

Erick Erickson, managing editor of the popular conservative Web site RedState.com, said that conservatives' efforts online are important but noted that people should continue to use traditional means to try and influence Congress.

"It is all well and good to be banging on your key board, but if you are not picking up the phone and yelling at your congressman, it does not do you very good," he said.

Despite having an upper hand on Twitter, conservatives still have a ways to go when it comes to catching up to liberals in the blogoshpere. Take for instance last week's competing online conferences in Pittsburgh. Former President Clinton and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett addressed about 1,500 activists attending the Netroots Nation conference. At the same time, approximately 700 conservatives gathered at the RightOnline.com conference to discuss the future of online activism.


Filed under: Social Networking • Twitter
soundoff (272 Responses)
  1. P N TN.

    You gotta love how most of the post from liberals talk about how stupid we conservatives are. Read some studies (or have someone read them to you). Conservatives are more educated and of higher income. This explains why we dont like taxes too pay for the government too keep you libs up ( because government waste too much). We prefer to give it to charity which is much more efficient at giving . We conservatives give MUCH more to charity too. You can look that up, if your able.
    The government can do NOTHING that the private sector cannot do as well and in most cases better.
    The fact is we havent had a decent choice for president since the Reagan era. It always comes down to a choice between a good solid turd( McCain, Bush, Dole) and a loose pile of diarrhea( Obama, Kerry, Gore). Until we change the way we vote, It will continue to be so.
    Wake up people. Dont put the government in charge of your healthcare. They have proven over and over again they are incapable of running anything.

    August 21, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Big Country

    Liberals used to make me mad, but now I just feel sorry for them. For so long they have been able to do all the name calling, protesting, and interrupting. But now the Republican side of the aisle has woken up and started to fight back. For eight years Libs called Pres. Bush, Hitler everytime they wanted to bad mouth the war against terrorism. So why is Pres. Obama off limits when he shows his socialist tendencies. Protesters show up outside a Town Hall meeting, and they are accused of disturbing the peace. But yet during the Republican nomination of 2004, Liberals had streets blocked off so that they could continue with: Bush is a Nazi, and have Bush like dolls hanging from ropes. Now in Town Hall Meetings, people given the platform to speak are interupted by the politicians, so they get loud and passionate to get their point accross, and you call them interuptions. But yet while Sen. McCain's nomination speech was interupted he politely stopped what he was saying and smiled while the interuption was dealt with. The problem is, when you have no substance all you can do is resort to the blame game and name calling. Lastly, Liberals accuse Conservatives of not being able to debate the facts. Well your man Barney Franks can't give clear answers to healtcare facts so he tells his own voters that they are like talking to a table.

    August 21, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. John M, Danville, CA

    Carol,

    I agree with you that most Democrats are un-educated, irresponsible, immoral heathens who are most likely on welfare (or want to be) and have hit the crack pipe enough so that Democrat ideals make sense.

    To make things simple, there are basically 2 parts to the Democrat party:

    The Base:
    The Democrat voter base or the lemmings that put a check next to any name with a D are comprised of: abortion freaks, TBGL (Transgenders, Bisexuals, Gaysand Lesbians), animal "lovers", minorities, NOW, hippies / "legalize it" crowd, gang bangers / criminals and unions. Most are single issue voters and will support anyone that "feels their pain" (or at least says they do).

    The "Brains":
    The "educated" (most likely in Womens Studies, Sociology or some other useless major) who run the party. The "College know it all Hippies" (to steal a quote from Cartman) and the Silver Spoon Libs (Kennedy types), the people that never had to work a day in their lives and don't understand why anyone else should. Hollywood "elites" also fall into this category because one day they are waiting tables for minimum wage and the next they are making $20 million a film. Neither mind about taxes, because they never really had to "work" for their money anyways. Prime example would be Ben Affleck, one of the Top 10 least talented actors in Hollywood / history but worth mega-millions and a huge lib / Democrat activist. Proof that idle minds are a dangerous thing.

    If you don't fall into any of these categories, please let me know so I can expand the list.

    August 21, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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