Tea Party Movement Does Not Move Social Media
There is a strange phenomenon afoot in this country. The rumblings of an establishment of a "Tea Party" party can be heard growing louder and louder. The National Tea Party, a first-time convention for the group has attracted 1,100 delegates to Nashville, Tennessee for three days of protest, caucus and debate. It's a movement everyone says is people-powered to give voice to the frustrations of a heretofore leaderless party. With all this talk channeling through the traditional news vehicles of legacy newspapers and TV, why hasn't this group chosen to be represented on social networks?
For such a large event that draws on people who like to hear the sound of their own voice, one would think they would have a significant presence on Twitter and Facebook. If they are going to proselytize others to join their movement, social networking would seem like the logical distribution channel to amplify their message. Yet when I searched for their presence, my cursory research only surfaced this "Tea Party News" account with just 2122 followers worldwide.
Their limited number of followers is not because they don't have a lot to tweet about. Note that this account has sent out 300,438 tweets as of the time of this posting. That's a lot of yakking to such a small nucleus of folks. ( UPDATE: There are apparently more Tea Party accounts on Twitter, but no collective voice under one banner).
Since the convention is a three-day affair and is culminating with a keynote address by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin on February 6, one would think it would have been a 'trending' topic on Twitter. However over the course of this time-frame, it has not appeared.
In fact, I just checked the hashtag #teaparty before writing this post, and was surprised to see only a few tweets trickling in and none that talked about the Nashville convention?
When checking on the Top Ten Twitter trends for the week on 'What The Trend' again neither Tea Party nor Sarah Palin caused enough of a stir to make the list.
Noteworthy, the "Teabagging for Jesus" tweet (above) refers to another splinter group made up of the "Birthers," the "Deathers," and the "Deniers" who have embraced the extremist religious right agenda. And according to a Perrspectives report, "they are Tea Bagging for Jesus and they are in your face about it." Bearing in mind the sexual connotation of "teabagging" this seems like an odd choice of words to describe a serious movement. Upon further research, satirists have even developed a Web site in its name. But even those folks have given up hitting on the easy target. They have not updated the site since May 20, 2009.