Tea Party Movement Does Not Move Social Media
Headless and leaderless, these tea party groups are not an organized political movement so much as they are a collection of people who generally agree on one key point: that President Obama and the Democrats who control Congress are assaulting their civil liberties and leading them down the wrong path.
Unfortunately, much of what is being said and promoted appears to be scare tactics to gain attention and attract more followers. This could possibly be the reason why they haven't been successful with the social networks. While the 'wisdom of crowds' is sometimes discounted as "group think," it is a very democratic arena to take a pulse on what the majority of folks are thinking and feeling at any point in time. However when your voice is not being 'retweeted' by others to any great degree, one has to wonder about the legitimacy of the voice.
This was clearly evident when the National Tea Party chose a former US representative of Colorado to open up their convention. Tom Tancredo who ran for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination as an anti-immigration candidate, railed against Obama and "the cult of multiculturalism." Americans could be "boiled to death in a cauldron of the nanny state," he said. "People who couldn't even spell the word 'vote,' or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House."
When Tancredo said, "His name is Barack Hussein Obama," the audience booed loudly.
"The race for America is on," Tancredo said. "The president and his left-wing allies in Congress are going to look at every opportunity to destroy the Constitution before we have a chance to save it. So put your running shoes on."
If people behind these fractionalized Tea Party groups ever assemble in mass, they are going to need a lot more than running shoes and scare tactics to get their message across to mainstream. They are going need a concerted effort vis a vis social networks that amplify and strengthen their message into one collective voice. Right now, all they have is a Tower of Babel, with a lot of nervous mice in a maze running hither and fro, speaking in tongues that don't make a lot of sense.
I waited for 50 comments to be posted before I weighed back in here. I probably could now write a follow-up article based on all the input provided in the COMMENT SECTION below - and for that - I say thank you. My intention in writing this post was not to belittle the movement, even though there is plenty of fodder and easy pickin's to do so. My attention was focused on analyzing why a new movement would not choose some 21st Century tools to build their base and their communication within that base. While some think the various "Tea Party" factions and diverse voices are necessary to allow for an evolution of thought - I see greater opportunity in gaining traction and credibility if you channel your resources and bring the fold in under one tent. Some might call this a "circus" - others might see it as controlled chaos. I favor the latter - and so did my kids every time we visited the Big Top when they were growing up.
Once again, thanks for the input, the feedback and the discourse - I think it is healthy as long as we all check our emotions at the door. Name-calling and petty bickering does not further a debate - it only builds fences.
Keep up the healthy dialogue!