Regular Blogs of War readers are mostly familiar with Twitter as it’s frequently mentioned and linked here, especially during breaking news events. However, the larger conservative movement has been largely lagging behind the times when it comes to social media adoption. That’s changing fast.
Top Conservatives on Twitter (TCOT) is a site and concept that exploded onto the scene just within the last couple of weeks but appears to be in a position to finally drive social media concepts home within the conservative movement. Volunteers are contacting elected and party officials and pulling them into Twitter (kicking and screaming in some cases I imagine) and conservative voices are finding their network of followers expanding in reach and power. This is all fantastic stuff but there are a few potential pitfalls ahead.
Twitter is best when used as a platform to share ideas quickly. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be used as a recruiting or fund-raising tool but those efforts can get repetitive and become perceived as spam. Campaign staffers are already using accounts for fund raising, some in pretty creative ways, but it is a difficult balance to maintain. How annoying it will be with dozens of campaign staffers hammering away at the TCOT membership in the months leading up an election? TCOT could become a victim of its own success if the noise becomes overwhelming. It will almost certainly fail if it becomes a spam-filled echo chamber. And can the competing facets of the conservative movement coexist peacefully? If people are bullied or blocked by the majority for dissent TCOT’s reach and influence will shrink. Who will be the first to be purged from the list for not being a true conservative?
Michael Leahy and Rob Neppel are doing amazing work. The challenges faced by TCOT are issues most online communities deal with at some point but they can be overcome with a careful, transparent, and open management approach. It’s impossible to say what will become of it as the explosive growth continues but the effort won’t be in vain if it continues to bring conservatives and elected officials into the modern era.