Thursday, July 21, 2011

Social media: yer doin' it rong

By Carl 

Did you know there was a Republican presidential debate last night?

Don't bother looking for repeats of it on CNN or video on YouTube. 

It was held on Twitter:

Now there's the @140townhall, hosted by the Tea Party, for a few hapless GOP 2012 candidates. 

I don't think enough attention has been paid to how terrible, asinine and embarrassing it was. It was almost funny. The only way it could possibly have been worse would have been if Romney had showed up.

To give you an idea of the level of discourse, which you can read in less time than it took the candidates to misstype, Bachmann's opening statement begins as follows: "TY for this forum. I'm running 4 POTUS 2 bring the voice of the people back to DC."

How... dignified.

Now, in truth, Twitter may be the best venue for the GOP to debate issues: 140 characters means you can't explain anything, you can't easily obfuscate, and you have to create bumper sticker answers on the fly.

Plus, as I often say, Twitter is for twits. This is perfect!

Except what's the point of having an exchange like that if no one knows about it? What's the point of having a debate if it's going to become a muddled mess of snappy answers that you can't even really be certain thread to the other participants?

You might as well ask Dickie Goodman to sample the candidates' position papers and create a "debate" that way.

This points up the contrast in how social media is used by both parties.

The blogosphere/Blogtopia (© Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo) is well-established and -- as conservatives are wont to do -- pretty bipartisanly effective well after the blog-world lost its uniqueness.

Facebook is similarly fairly familiar now, and conservatives have made inroads there as well. Sarah Palin's Facebook page is among the most popularly and most carefully watched pages on the site.

This is a far cry from not too long ago, when Rupert Murdoch purchased MySpace as an attempt to "Fox News" social media, thus abandoning hundreds of conservatives to a lonely outpost on the edges of the cybergalaxy.

Now we have Twitter. Twitter is great for alerting people: you need a quick fundraising hit, or an urgent policy announcement, you link to it on Twitter and it gets around. Twitter is great for a wiseass like me (even though I don't tweet) who can snap off one-liners.

Twitter is not great for a dialogue. And therein lies the problem for the Republicans. They bring a rubber band to a knife fight.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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