What’s got Republicans and conservatives (the two not being mutually exclusive sets, by the way) Twittering oin the Hill? The Hill column notes”
Audiences usually treat presidents to a round of polite applause, but when President Obama addressed House Republicans on Tuesday, they started Twittering.
Just a week after being inaugurated and becoming the most powerful man in the world, Obama strode into the Republican redoubt on Capitol Hill, whereupon its denizens started texting accounts of the proceedings into cyberspace. There could be no clearer demonstration of the way politics has moved into an age in which technology trumps formality.
“Impressive,” Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) remarked, before noting that everyone in the room — Obama and Republicans included — expressed “deep concern about unemployment.”
“There’s real desire in this room to figure a way back to prosperity,” Inglis wrote on his Twitter page.
While a relatively new phenomenon to Republicans, the Twitter phenomenon came into it’s own during the summer recess last summer:
Partisan pranks kept Republican Representatives at the House in protest of the Democrats’ vote to leave for summer vacation without calling a vote on offshore drilling, Politico reports. Democrats voted to adjourn at noon but Republicans refused to leave, staying even after the lights and microphones were turned off.
There was no shortage of dramatics as Republicans entertained reporters and tourists in the gallery and online supporters using Twitter. C-Span cameras were turned off but Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.) kept his twitter stream updated from his Blackberry. Culberson tweeted: “Here is a powerful use of social media – when they turn off the mike we can still communicate.” He and his fellow conservatives left tweets bashing Pelosi and demanding a vote on drilling. Colberson even shot and posted video interviews via Qik videos in the congressional hallways.
Meanwhile, Ruffini’s colleague Kristen Soltis thinks Republicans are out in front on microblogging:
The Twitterers among us (myself included) are giddy like Chris Matthews at an Obama rally, thrilled that technology was able to give word of the revolution to the masses. Members of Congress connected directly with “followers”. Drudge made it his top headline. The whole affair has been given the tag “#dontgo” on Twitter, drawing on the way in which conferences and major events get referenced using the micro-blogging site. For us political junkies who have watched too much West Wing, the idea of a Congress gone rogue in defense of the American people is too romantic, too fantastic not to spend the weekend gabbing about.
So, then, the question arises — to what extent is “#dontgo” actually going to move voters? If Congressional Republicans do something exciting and important but nobody really knows about it, does it matter? (If a tree falls in a forest, and all that jazz.)
My answer is an emphatic “yes”.
So, folks, which is it: politics as usual, or a revolution in 140 characters or less?
That’s a LOT of stories.
The mechanics of it are simple. You go to Twitter.com, register, do some basic stuff to your new site (like a profile, to be polite to others) and start “following” others post. A friend of mine referred to this a “glorified chatroom”, but it’s a little different. You get to choose who you “follow” (or allow in your chatroom), and you can block people as well. You can make different chatrooms (like the #dontgo, or #TCOT, The “Top Conservatives on Twitter” site.)
And it’s not particularly time-intensive. I l;eave it running on a tab of my Firefox and check in on itfrom time to time. People who want to get hold of me directly can do so with a direct message that is saved until i get to it.
There’s also the #TCOT REPORT, which features conservative news much like the Drudge Report does mainstream news.
Personally, I find it reassuring that it’s Conservatives that are flocking to Twitter. Conservatism is the way the rebirth of the Republican Party lies.