“It’s Not The Tool; It’s What You Do With It”

Ken AshfordRepublicans, Science & TechnologyLeave a Comment

For some reason, Republicans still think that they can crawl their way back up to the political mountaintop… by (among other things) using Twitter.  Slate covers the annual conference of the College Republican National Committee (where future Republicans are born — see Karl Rove and Lee Atwater):

According to those headlining the conference, who ranged from the baby-faced Rep. Aaron Schock, 28, to the rapidly fossilizing Phyllis Schlafly, 75, the party needs to diversify. Get back to principles. And, oh, use Twitter.


The group is also working on its technological chops, which outgoing president Charlie Smith told me should be the CNRC's No.1 priority going forward. David All, of the eponymous conservative media consulting group, tried to persuade a less-than-capacity crowd that Twitter was the future. "That's the thing that we need to embrace and evangelize every single day," he said. "We have a massive opportunity to grow the pie of conservatism because of the quickness of Twitter and because everyone is jumping on board."

When he asked who was on Twitter, about half those assembled raised their hands. Only a couple—including Charlie Smith—used the #crnc tag. One member piped up skeptically: "What is Twitter? I don't get it, I use it kind of begrudgingly."

Steven Benen is right about this:

It's all very silly. For one thing, party leaders continue to confuse the technology with the substance behind it. College Republicans can have a Twitter account with plenty of followers, but if the group doesn't have a compelling message to share, it won't make any difference. It's not the tool, it's what you do with it.

For another, party leaders who already embrace Twitter seem to be extraordinarily bad at it. Just ask Chuck Grassley, Newt Gingrich, Mark Shurtleff, Pete Hoekstra, Jeff Frederick, and Jim Tedisco.

UPDATE:  As for the GOP diversity, they still can't decide whether to let Palin into the tent.