Is Twitter changing anything?

by Carl Natale on July 17, 2010

As usual, John Dickerson has a very thoughtful piece in Slate. This examines how prominent Republicans are using Twitter:

The most successful adopter is Sarah Palin on Facebook. She’s been posting messages on the social network for months. This week she endorsed Karen Handel in the Republican primary in Georgia, which drew a sharp response from one of Handel’s GOP challengers, and responded to the NAACP resolution calling on the Tea Party to denounce racism. “The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling,” she wrote, “and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand.”

In politics, the general rule used to be that, to get yourself involved in a story, you had to haul yourself in front of a camera. Not so much any more. Palin’s post was mentioned in nearly every story about the resolution, including on the network news. (It helped that this was a fight producers couldn’t resist, and that Palin attracts a big audience.)

via The Twitter primary: Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney battle for social media supremacy. – By John Dickerson – Slate Magazine.

I just want to clarify something. Twitter is a conversation tool. It allows people to talk and listen on a massive scale. In a way it’s not that different from a global cocktail party.

Except this cocktail chatter is on the record.

So I don’t want to suggest Twitter is the greatest thing for conversation since the appletini. Someone else with a clever idea can replace it. But the behavior is there.

And politicians have realized that they can have these conversations without using the press as the middleman.

Oh the press – or mainstream media – still is important. And there are news reporters who realize the importance of the new conversation tools. Perhaps they’re adding to Twitter’s prominence.

In any case, more conversations are taking place in the cocktail parties hosted by social networks. Luckily journalists are invited to the party.

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