After Teaparty. Now what?
We go back home and wait for the axe to fall?
No, I don’t think so!
A strong statement was made, but the Dems in Congress are probably thinking;
“The Cons were restless, but they’ll give up and go away after this, they always do.”
They’re right, we always do. We work multiple jobs, and get back into the rut where we’re shoveling the coal trying to keep our financial fires burning and the engines of our lives chugging ahead to whatever our collective goals may be.
People who don’t work and live off of one form of government aid or another have a much bigger stake in this than we do it seems. They don’t want to give up what they’ve been given, and having learned to depend on government can’t imagine how they’d get along without it. They also have more time to organize and protest than we do, which is a huge edge. They get more media coverage, and have a more sympathetic ear in Congress than do the working people who pay their bills.
What do we have? Where is our equalizer?
Well, a movement was born recently after the disastrous results of the November elections. A way for conservatives nationwide to be in touch real time, grassroots conservatives all the way to conservatives you see only on TV was found.
It’s called Top Conservatives on Twitter, or “TCOT”.
It utilizes a social networking tool called “Twitter“, which if you’re reading this you’re already familiar with. Those not familiar, first get past the name. It kept me from trying it for the longest time, now I don’t know how I got along without it.
There are plenty of tutorials on how to use the thing, but basically it’s a web application where you can leave notes 140 characters in length for people you know who “Follow” you to read. There are ways to post these notes using your cell phone’s SMS messaging system, and more advanced applications for smartphones to send the messages and read them as well. Needless to say, this’ll be geared more to folks new to the medium.
TCOT is a gathering place for conservatives using Twitter to Follow each other, and thus be able to read each other’s notes. Using the TCOT Master List found on the home page linked above, you are able to follow people like Karl Rove, Michelle Malkin, as well as many US and local legislators such as John Boehner and Jim DeMint.
You of course will start where most of us did, at or near the bottom unless you’ve been using Twitter for other purposes anyway such as a “Media Guru”, “Tech Savvy Superhero”, or whatever. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here you soon will, as dozens of the aforementioned folk will start following you and you’ll have to choose whether or not to follow them back. Let your conscience be your guide.
You can work the list from bottom to top, or top to bottom, but the best way might be to watch the TCOT feed and decide from there. You can jump in at any time, but might be best to lurk for a bit and get an idea of how it’s done. Not as hard as you might think, really.
A better way to watch the feed, one where you don’t have to constantly click “Refresh”, is to use a third party site such as tweetchat. Just log in using your Twitter name and pass, in the “Room to Enter” box, type tcot, hit enter, and away you go. There are other sites that enable you to follow many different feeds or hashtags such as TCOT, but one step at a time.
When you click on the picture of the person you’re interested in following, a new window pops up (you may have to enable pop ups for the site), and from there if you are logged into Twitter you can follow that person. Won’t take long and you’ll have a decent base for people to converse with, most will probably follow you back if your Twitter profile is properly filled out (at least tell people who you are and where in the country you’re located, saying you’re a conservative may be a good idea).
Now, as this is a grassroots movement, finding people in your local area isn’t a bad idea as long as you are careful with basic internet safety. One way is to use TwitterGrader, a tool not only for grading yourself as compared to others, but useful for finding others of like mind near where you are. Just remember you are not your Twitter grade, so you’re not scrambling to “better yourself” in that way. It just gives you ideas on who may be nearby.
If in filling out your Twitter profile you accurately gave your location as City, State, Zip you’ll be shown a Profile Summary of yourself with Twitter Elite shown in the Location area. These are people you can choose to follow or not depending on their interests listed in their bio, and the stream of notes they’ve left previously. If they seem to talk incessantly about making large sums of money with lots of dollar signs and speak to nobody in particular, you may not want to follow that person. If however they leave messages for specific people, and talk about issues you care about, you’ve got a winner.
Myself, I’m not into “collecting” followers as much as some. Sure, a high follower count is nice to see but if you’re interested in quality over quantity, be choosy and they’ll come eventually. Some people like to go to the TCOT list and just follow everybody, and that’s fine to do if what you want is a high follower count, but unless you have a decent follower base already established you’ll look like a spammer and won’t be followed back.
Likewise, if you follow someone with an unusually high ratio of Friends to Followers, in other words you see people with 2,300 followers but follow only 23, you probably won’t be followed in return so don’t expect it.
At this point you should be able to see the value in having closer to real time access to different people who think the way you do, and possibly change a few minds of those who don’t. You meet all types, fun and serious, intense and carefree. There are moms, politicians, dads, ministers; in short, everyone is represented on Twitter.
Most important, you are there as ideas and events are born.
I talked to one woman who had just seen the Rick Santelli video rant on CNBC. She had the idea of a teaparty like the Boston teaparty in the 1700s. I told her “Why not contact Smart Girl Politics using their hashtag #SGP (more info on hashtags here) because a teaparty seemed a natural for them. She did, and it was more than up their alley, they did awesome with it. It wasn’t just the Smart Girls as it turned out, it sprang to life spontaneously nationwide, but much of the coordination was done by them via Twitter, blogs, and text messaging. If you followed the hashtag #teaparty you saw it from its birth to its media coverage later that evening.
You can use Twitter as I said, from your PC, Mac, phone browser, or text message, and it’s a very flexible and cost effective way to be there for the next Conservative Revolution.
If you’re into that sort of thing as I am, that is.