Features

Online wars

"Online wars" Continued...

Issue: "On the road again," May 9, 2009

Now the shoe is on the other foot. Upset with the notion of big government spending, conservatives are catching up. But observers agree that the one thing conservatives are missing is the name recognition of an Obama-like figure. Conservative strategists want to unite supporters around issues, like energy prices and government spending, rather than an individual. Democrats are pushing the image of controversial conservatives like talk radio host Rush Limbaugh as the conservative brand.

In the end, building grassroots support is likely to boil down to message, not technology. Still, both sides now understand the advantage of being the first to dominate a social network. Last year 2,000 liberals descended on Texas to attend an online convention while 600 conservatives participated in their own new media workshop, where groups learned and swapped best practices for wielding the new media tools. This year both conferences will be held in Pittsburgh in August.

And further down the political calendar, Cooper predicts that some presidential candidate in 2012 will announce his bid for the White House through Twitter. Kudos to anyone who can outline presidential aspirations in 140 characters.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee is WORLD's Washington Bureau chief. As a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, he was embedded with a National Guard unit in Iraq. He also once worked in the press office of Sen. Lamar Alexander.

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