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08/12/2011

Why are so few #tcot taking the @valuesbus?

by Jeremy Hooper

6A00D8341C503453Ef0153909B2F77970BNot only is the so-called Values Voters Bus' physical turnout a total failure (even organizers put Sioux City at the tour's high point, where just over 20 voting-age people showed up), but it's also an unquestionable failure in terms of social media. In the nine days since the tour and its slate of GOP candidates were announced, all of the groups involved -- The National Organization For Marriage, Family Research Council, Susan B. Anthony List, Faith Family Freedom Fund, etc. -- have used every tool in the online arsenal to build a following. They've also drummed up a fairly impressive amount of press coverage, mainstream and otherwise. Plus they're driving around in a wheeled billboard for their cause, the motorcoach serving as a moving advertisement for their online properties!

And yet even with all that, the tour has only managed to pull in a teeny tiny 49 Twitter followers, at least a quarter of whom are either pro-equality or objective media followers:

Screen Shot 2011-08-12 At 1.35.59 Pm

Now, this might not seem like a true measure of anything. But if you think about it, it really is. This is a coalition of some of the largest conservative groups out there, partnering with other state-level groups (The Iowa Family Leader, Cornerstone World Outreach, a few "pro-life" groups, etc) as well as some of the most headline-grabbing Republican candidates out there (Santorum, Cain; Bachmann is supposed to join the tour today). And they've all been blogging and press releasing and Flickring from the road. By virtue of press hits alone, one would think these folks could crack 1k followers in no time flat. So only 49 followers here on the concluding day of the tour, with only 30 or so being actual followers (if generous)? That's pretty remarkable, actually.

Is it a sign of the generational divide between the two "culture war" camps? A sign of waning "social issue" focus, even within conservative circles? Evidence of the far-right's mistaken belief that #hashtags are something you smoke? Or perhaps a combination of all these factors and more?

Well I don't know exactly why. But I know that in this day and age, social media is a pretty good barometer for a number of things. For this tour to get so much media attention and yet so little Tweet-love? To me it shows that while we gays may be the ones this tour hopes to keep away from marriage, it's the anti-equality's needed base whose level of commitment is showing signs of cold feet.

***

*Headline note: #tcot is the hashtag for "top conservatives on twitter"

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