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

Liberal bloggers admit conservatives have upper hand on Twitter

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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 "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 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, 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 conference to discuss the future of online activism.

Filed under: Social Networking • Twitter
soundoff (272 Responses)
  1. Jon

    Isn't it great that Obama still tries to blame the economy on Bush, even after Obama has run the debt into the ionosphere? He tried that "we inherited the debt" line at a town hall meeting and nearly got booed out of the building. The American people are finally beginning to "get it". Obama claims to be fixing the economy but the only thing he seems intent on "fixing", is the blame. Twitter and other systems of information seem to be getting the message across in spite of the liberal propaganda that the main stream media deals in.

    August 21, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. conservativejames

    Brian Chalker, stick to what you know. Growing Hippie Lettuce in your Mom's backyard & playing xbox. Just so you know we use Hilter as an example because he was a Socialist. Are you incapable of understanding that socialized medicine is in the same category? I am not saying that Obama is going to start a world war, but he is dividing the nation even moreso than the Bush administration did. We are a free country, not an everything for free country. There is 100 alternatives to many of the policies that libs are putting on the table. Find more than 1 or 2 sources on real information besides or NPR

    August 21, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Jon

    ""exerting their right" to exhibit their ignorance "

    You mean like Obama did when he claimed to have visited "57 states" and discuss "my Muslim faith", or how about the plethora of lies he has repeated over and over, even when presented with factual evidence, in regard to what is really in HR3200?

    August 21, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. NHred

    Liberalism is a drug induced paranoia!

    August 21, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Michael D

    "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 conference to discuss the future of online activism."

    So a popular ex-President can only attract 800 more people than the conservatives who didn't have anyone famous speak? Pretty sad it sounds like to me.

    August 21, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Carol

    Spoken like a true republican. – I have to give them credit though, they know how to brand.

    Republican speak – if you're a Dem, you're on welfare, uneducated, un-american, irresponsible, un-christian, unpatriotic, so on and so on.

    It's an easy way to justify and add credibility to their ignorance.

    janus August 21st, 2009 2:59 pm ET

    Liberals are a minority. that's probably because they are still living with mommy and daddy and have taken on no responsiblity.

    August 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Mike

    Glenn, that was sooooooooo generic. What I love is "progressives" always seem to be first at name calling to argue their point without substance. I also love how they pigeon hole anyone who doesn't think like them. Save the unproductive members of society by keeping them in fiscal bondage to paid by the sweat of true hardworking Americans. Absolutely not. Thats why families are so important. We don't need social security. We need familial security. Thats how it was. And it works. Also I have to ponder all the liberal plants at the town hall meetings. The ones yelling and screaming and fighting one another...............plants. Also Glenn, how are you so well versed in the social customs associated with Sundays and one of our nation's glorious passtimes? Are you a closet redneck in denial?

    August 21, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Anthony Riviera

    The liberals believe that everything they say is worth listening to. With Obama the Liar in the White House, they are coming to understand that no matter how many times you yell that ObamaCare is not socialized medicine, the American people do not believe it and that is why The Emperor's New Clothes have been exposed as being empty of substance.

    August 21, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Eric

    Liberal bloogers? This is a spelling error, but not sure what the right spelling would be... 🙂

    August 21, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Jon

    When it comes to getting the message on heatlh care out, every channel available needs to used, since Obamas health care is like a nuclear weapon in it's effect, in that, once it is used there won't be anyone left alive to oppose it.

    August 21, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. yuri

    Our only obstacle is the use of twitter by the obstructionist organization of GOP who seemingly are hell-bent to thwart BHO's health plans. Those jerks have nothing better to offer, except some nasty rhetorics about public option.

    August 21, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Raj

    Is there anything else these marxist can complain about? We got a marxist media, marxist congress, marxist president and yet they still complain. Shut ya mouth. I know your not happy with Obama but you voted for it, not me.

    August 21, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. John M, Danville, CA

    What the libs don't realize, and never will, is that moderates from both parties and independents voted for Obama to punish the Republican Party for 8 years of Bush. Most voted with a shaking hand. Was Hillary right about this inexperienced leftist with ties to some of the biggest scumbags in the country? I am sure that most are kicking themselves right now. Take off the lib rose colored glasses for one minute and you will see that the majority of people in this country don't like the direction, and they don't trust Obama, Nancy or Harry. With or without Obamacare, 2010 is going to make 1994 look good to the Democrats. One terrorist attack on US soil, another set back in the economy or passing of Obamacare is going to ignite a firestorm and Obama's approval ratings will be in single digits.

    August 21, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Gina D.

    Well.... Liberals, always had the upper in the education system for the last 50 yrs., that is why America's education system can't get it up to snuff with the rest of the "Civilized" world.
    Maybe it's all the diversity appreciation & sexually educational courses that have slowed them down.....Oh Well, maybe for those that concentrated on History, Math, Science, Reading & Writing are finally winning the techno world after all.

    August 21, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Sean Hannity

    Republican's can't read. That's how we know that these are astrotuf posts. Same people working for the RNC/Fox and the Insurance companies. Welcome to the USSRNCExtremists world. Thank God we don't need the RNC!! Hey Rove, read any good material from your hack Ridge? Something about "using the terror alerts" to generate fear among your sheep to vote for the moron GWBush.

    By the way, anyone whom can defend 8 years of Bush Tyranny, loses their right as US citizens and must spend 8 years in Gitmo – where you belong.

    August 21, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Will Maxwell

    The right wing wackos forget that Bush doubled the national debt. The debt was 5 trillion when Bush came into office and he left with a 10 trillion $ debt that he gave our country. That is after Bill Clinton balanced the budget and gave Bush a 200 billion $ surplus when he left. As for Bush, when he left, he gave Pres. Obama the greatest recession the nation has ever had. The financial instutions were in melt down. If Pres. Obama had not taken the steps he did when he came in with the massive bail out money to the financial instutions–we would have had a great depression. This leanding to a massive debt for the country because of Bush and the right wings policies of no regulation of the financial industry under Bush's watch. We may be coming out of this thanks to the Pres. Obama. Hey the DOW is up over 40 per cent since he came into office. The right wingers should be happy as the dems make them some money as when Bill Clinton was in office when the stock market tripled in his 8 years in office.

    August 21, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Sean Hannity

    Jon – I would be concerned if I thought you actually lived in the country and could read 1000+ pages; but I know that the RNC doesn't read. Bush doesn't, PALIN doesn't – if your heroes don't read, I'm fairly certain you're just praying that your ignorance and hate can somehow come off as intelligent speak. Sorry. It doesn't. You are a mirror of the baboons you support. Shallow and no substance. A hired Insurance "plant". Actually a weed.

    August 21, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Deuce

    Boo-hoo! Boo-hoo! We cry for sympathy. Boo-hoo. Poor Idiot Obama supporters. Want sympathy... Why? Live with your mistake.

    You created him..

    August 21, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. Big Daddy Jimbo


    You are a moron. Your messiah cannot even explain his policy to a town hall full of his own supporters, and you want to bad mouth the repubs? You seem to forget that the repubs have read the bill, unlike the dem hacks in congress, and that is why they are succeeding in shooting holes in this bill, idiot! Hussein can't even deliver a speech without a teleprompter, guess he was out getting high during his public speech class in college. His inability to explain his position to those in his own party is what is killing this bill, not to mention a whole host of other issues with the dem retards agendas. Biden in '09! Rebub's retake congress in '10, and the white house in '12!

    August 21, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Sean Hannity

    Gary – you supported 8 years of Bush and a GOP that: endorsed torture, invaded a sovereign goverment, lied to you, me and congress about going to war because of WMDs, stole and election in Florida, probably Ohio as well and have RNC staff coming forward to say they had been manipulated by your thugs (i.e., Tom Ridge, Scott McClellan, et. al.), your party has introduced brainwashing and propaganda, illegally detaining human's with no rights, killed over 5,000 US soldiers, 1 million Iraqi's, DID NOT get Bin Laden, empowered Saddam Hussein – prior to taking him out, invaded an oil rich country while gas prices in this country skyrocketed, deregulated banks and quarterbacked the TARP legislature that you want to hang on the "elected" President of the US, deregulated housing market bringing it and the banks to collapse – HEY GOP – with COUNTRYMEN like you – who needs enemies!! LOL.

    August 21, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. Josh

    I see the Right-Wing Taliban is out in full force in this post. Why don't you Domestic Terrorists just give up already? You lost......miserably in November. Our President is Barack Obama and there's NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!

    August 21, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. conservativejames

    Dems Speak- Republicans hate the poor & want them dead, we want all the money for ourselves, all we want is war, oil, guns & to supress the masses. I forgot that we are all racists too. What a load! If people would just turn off NPR for a little while and listen to a real source for news then you might be more educated as a Dem. The fact is the Dems that are well educated have a " I'm better than you", elitist attitude.

    Sorry, I have to run, the dry cleaners was able to get all the blood off my KKK uniform which is good because I want to be nice & white for the rally.

    If that is what you think about Republicans & Conservatives then you really are uneducated & Lincoln must have been to. By the way, who signed the Emancipation Proclimation into effect?

    August 21, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. right wing conspirator

    "the republicans used against health care" as the story reads. since when are we against health care??? we are against obamacare which is truley PRO health. i guess CNN and the rest of the left think we are against clean air, fuzzy animals and little old ladies. can you guys come up with fresh stereotypes? you're getting boring

    August 21, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. Tia Maria

    No wonder... 140 characters at the time. That's about how much a Republican can process at one time.

    August 21, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. Ted

    Someone wrote.. "Republican speak – if you're a Dem, you're on welfare, uneducated, un-american, irresponsible, un-christian, unpatriotic, so on and so on."

    Add "Nazi" and "Racist" to the list and those look more like names used by democrats to describe the health care protesters over the last dew weeks.

    August 21, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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