I sent my first “tweet” a few days ago, and must admit, that at first I didn’t “get it”. But now I see the value in this Social Media platform; I guess one must always experience something to really understand it. The value of Twitter is this: Tweets are faster than Facebook, and for high profile, fast moving, and fluid events i.e. elections, Twitter is the platform required to get information out there. So where does the Tea Party movement stand when it comes to this new Social Media platform?
I would argue that the Tea Party and for that matter, the Republican Party has come pretty close to mastering Social Media; I saw this at CPAC 2011. I also believe the Tea Party/Republican mastering of Social Media and their comfort with it, was a direct cause for our 2010 November win, but November was a very long time ago, and already things have changed; the world moves fast, we must stay in the fight.
The Democrat Party has lifted its head out of their fox hole long enough to catch a glimpse of our recent success with Social Media and has responded with a full force training campaign. In a recent blog, Daniel Halper from the Weekly Standard, observes that “Democratic leaders have stepped up their efforts to ensure that their staffers are taking full advantage of social media. They have hosted three staff briefings this year on the issue: The first was on Google ads and YouTube, the second was on Facebook, and the third was last week on Twitter.” He goes on to write: “Rank-and-file Democrats aren’t the only ones pushing for expanded use of social media. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) participated in last week’s town hall, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) held a first-ever “speed geeking” session — like speed dating, but for technology, aides said — for Members last week. During the session, Democrats rotated around the room for quick briefings on how Facebook and Twitter work and why they are key tools for reaching their constituents….”
Tea Party activists are, in general a bit older than the average activists, and this has been a strength for us, but if we are not careful and if we do not always remain in a training mode, it will work to our defeat. All Tea Party groups, large and small from across the nation should hold Social Media training sessions, and must develop a Social Media/Twitter plan of attack; a detailed operation order, a road map for how their organization will master and execute political action on/with these new technologies.
Here at Freedomworks we have embraced New Media and have pushed the envelope even further, by creating our own Social Media platform called Freedomconnector. This piece of technology is geo located and allows Tea Party activists to connect to other activists and events in their area; think Meet Up, or Facebook specifically designed for Tea Party folks. Recently our staff visited many Western States and held “Freedomconnector” training sessions for our members and Tea Party Activists in the area; training is key.
The Democrat Party knows that they must also master Social Media in order to achieve victory in 2012, and they have begun aggressive training in order to do just that; we must march ahead of them in our efforts. We must poise ourselves uncomfortably at the very edge of this new frontier, and possess the flexibility, and bravery to advance into the unknown; we must be ready to take risks.