A Conservative Does TV, Twitter, Facebook, Ning, WordPress, IM, Email, Radio and Drinks In 48 Hours–UPDATEDDecember 5, 2008 / 12:37 pm • By Dr. Melissa Clouthier
Recently a Republican strategist, Michael Leahy made a Blog that includes the top Conservatives on Twitter. For once in my nerd life, I’m on the list. The people on this list range from strategists, to Republican national chairmen wannabes, and to bloggers like me.
Why is this list important?
Well, Twitter is just one new media that is bringing people together for all sorts of reasons. Let me tell you what happened on Monday that will illustrate the evolution. So, I have a friend on Facebook who I met at a conference who was going to be on the Strategy Room–a user driven news show by Fox News that features a round-table of experts and pundits (watch, it’s the best news commentary on TV and that is no exaggeration–you can stream it live here)–so, I thought I’d watch.
Then, in a fit of self-disclosure, I tell my Tweet people on Twitter that I’m watching Strategy Room. Well, turns out that one of my Twitter followers, Facebook friend, and now real friend, Sid Burgess, manages Twitter for Strategy Room. He Tweets me and we discuss the show in real time. And I send a tweet to the show, they read it on-air and link my blog on air.
Meanwhile, talk show host Hugh Hewitt is getting the hang of Twitter, himself, and talks about it on-air with Saul Anuzis, the Michigan Republican chair who is running to head the RNC. Well, Saul and I had become friends on Twitter and discovered that I had lived within blocks of him when I lived there. Small world. (Michael Steele also going for it. Here’s his transcript. I met Michael at the AFP/Samsphere conference in Austin in August.)
Very small world. And that is all to the good. Information is POWER and the quick exchange of information amplifies the power exponentially. So, two days ago, I knew that I would be coming to Philadelphia and met up with politically active blogger Skye (blog here, Twitter here) and her friend Rich. We had never met before, but we knew much about one another through mutual friends and through the new media. (By the way, the pomegranate martini was very good on my very empty stomach. Yum!)
One of the problems Republicans have had is their absolute recalcitrance when it comes to embracing the new and advanced. It was to our demise this last election. Barack Obama used and embraced all forms of new media. So did DNC chair Howard “Crazy Man” Dean. Crazy like a fox, that guy. So did Ron Paul followers. Republicans who ignore this new phenomenon are going to suffer not only losses generally, but losses personally. The interconnectedness, sharpens a person, ads value and helps people get involved in meaningful, concrete ways.
For example, there are a couple new Ning sites that conservatives who want to make a difference need to join. Here are a couple of my favorites: 1. Smart Girl Politics–this is a grassroots organization that is putting together a structure to get active locally, you don’t have to be a girl to join 2. Rebuild The Party–this group started post-election as a response to the devastating losses this election 3. Team Sarah–this group started out to support Sarah Palin but now is over 60,000 people strong and is also a grass-roots effort 4. #Dontgo–Started by Chicagoan Eric Odom–this site was a response to keep our congressmen working while the Democrats were intent on leaving Americans to high oil prices. The site has expanded, is working on state efforts and has a petition and some other activities to join.
Bottom line, the new media are ways to connect people who share beliefs and values and bring them together. Numbers mean power. Locally, many Republicans are technologically retarded. This ignorance extends up to the very top of the political structure and needs to change.
Ultimately, the purpose of these social networking sites isn’t to be an echo chamber but a think tank that serves as a catalyst for real action. On Sunday, I’ll be having lunch with real people who I’ve Twittered and IM’d, who are real friends and who are making a real difference within the conservative movement. These people started out as friends on Facebook, and then Twitter. Now, we are conservatives from Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York meeting to share ideas and to get to work.
I understand that these media are not for everyone and that people may not want to get involved extensively. But how difficult is it to sign a petition? How hard is it to go somewhere and read what others are doing? And remember, Obama won with money. Cold. Hard. Cash. Sure MoveOn had George Soro’s big coffers. But Obama had thousands of supporters giving an average of $100 each. That’s not much for a whole election campaign. Many more donations were in the $5-$10 category. You can do that. I can do that. And together, we can encourage a more responsive political class and ignite a more enthusiastic electorate who will finally get to see their conservative ideals personified in their government officials.
Hey, a girl can dream.
And some of you might object to new media social technology because you’re not a geek. But here’s the thing: it’s not just a geek thing anymore. Dr. Mark Drapeu (who I follow–here–and who follows me) says:
But ultimately, I think that the real winner is you. If your words are compelling, if you add value to conversations, people will listen to you, talk with you, and chat about you. Whether you plan it or not, you will build a personal brand – and I think personal brands are great for entrepreneurial personalities. Jim Long, a Washington DC-based cameraman for NBC, is also on the most-followed list. Why? Not because he’s a celebrity. Because he is a nice person with a cool job that takes him to interesting locations, and he has embraced Twitter as a great way to interact with people. Gary Vaynerchuk, a wine expert, uses the force of his personality and intellect to evangelize about his wine business and other topics he is passionate about. These two people, and many more less well known, use Twitter to execute against their resume, to enhance what they already do using new social technologies. And if you have interesting things to say, you can do it too.
I very much encourage you to get involved in the Twitterverse and the social communities. You will find people who share your interests, who challenge your point of view and who will ultimately, and best of all, become your friends.
Cross-posted at RightWingNews.com, SmartGirlPolitics, The Houston Chronicle and will be seen on Facebook and Twitter feeds