It isn’t just the Democrats and the fans of Barack Obama who are getting excited about Twitter the Republicans are at it as well.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal at a recent debate, the candidates to become chairman of the Republican National Committee were asked whether they have any followers. Just to be clear, the person asking the question was not talking about followers back at the compound, but on Twitter – this was of course after they had let people know the important statistics – like how many guns they owned.
Were you expecting a hushed silence? Anything but, Michael Steele, a former lieutenant governor of Maryland, was a little vague, but “Last time I checked, ” he said, “300 to 400″. Maybe it was his PA who checked.
Another candidate, the paper reported, Katon Dawson, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, said he would have been Twittering just then, but explained: “I’m just not doing it today because you told us we couldn’t.”
We all know it’s a game of one upmanship. How many posts have you read on Twitter that start “Wow, just got my 500/1000 follower” and Republicans are just the same.
Ken Blackwell, a former secretary of state of Ohio, came out with: “I do Twitter, but let me just say I have 4,000 friends on Facebook, which is probably more than these two guys put together, but who’s counting?”
But Ken Facebook is so then, it’s not very now (says moi with a paltry 120 friends or the abouts…).
The WSJ reports that after getting its butt digitally kicked in the 2008 US Presidential election (to be fair they still got 46% of the vote), the Republican Party is taking a close look at what it does online and has made “winning the technology war with the Democrats” the No. 1 priority.
This started straight after the election with a Republican party technology consultant starting a site devoted to getting Republicans on Twitter. So far, so far to go.
According to a report on the Hill Republican members of Congress have slowly increased their use of the Twitter, with some Tweeting directly and some being moderated by their staffs. According to the website TweetCongress.org, which tracks lawmakers’ Twitter feeds, 29 Republican members are on Twitter, compared to 16 Democrats and one Independent: Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
Overall, around 168 RNC voting-members use Twitter. Both parties have a way to go, but for it to work you need to have the big players involved and actively selling the technology. That’s just not the case.
The WSJ revealed in the piece how Mike Duncan, the incumbent RNC chairman up for re-election, was bushwhacked in a recent interview with conservative talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt about the technology gap between the GOP and the Democrats.
After Mr. Duncan, 57, called the gap a “big myth,” Mr. Hewitt pressed him.
“Are you on Twitter, by the way, Mike Duncan?” asked Hewitt, himself a heavy Twitterer.
“I do not Twitter,” Duncan replied.
Duncan said he did not like to be distracted by Twitter. Mike, I have to tell you I know that problem also.
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