According to a newly released survey, Republican politicians dominate the congressional Twitter-verse. Meanwhile, Barack Obama just sent his first "Tweet" last month. Twitter Gap!
A Congressional Research Service report released last week (and published by Secrecy News) found that 60% of the members of Congress with Twitter accounts are Republicans, and that fully half of all congressional Twitterers are House GOP members. The study, which was conducted in August of last year is limited to U.S. senators and House members, shows GOP pols out-Twittering Democrats in virtually every category: A whopping 67% of all congressional "Tweets" are written by Republicans.
It certainly looks like things have turned around, Twitter-wise, for the Republican Party. In January 2009, GOP politicians were publicly wringing their hands over the party's failure to embrace social networking, and then-candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele was touting his Twitter followership as a qualification for the post. The Wall Street Journal covered the party's deliberate campaign to infiltrate Twitter:
Within days of the election, a technology consultant in Nashville, Tenn., started a Web site devoted to getting Republicans on Twitter, spotlighting which of the 168 RNC voting-members use the tool (last count: 20). A conservative strategist issued a 10-point action plan for rebuilding the party, declaring the No. 1 priority to be "winning the technology war with the Democrats."
They've already won. This chart, based on data from the CRS report, shows that the median GOP House Twitterer has nearly twice as many followers as her Democratic counterpart. Democrats still have the edge in the Senate, though we're only talking about 18 Senators with Twitter accounts, so it's not much of a victory compared with the 103 House Republicans.
The upshot of all this is that the Republican Party owns Twitter, and will hopefully continue to be too distracted with "Tweeting" stupid short sentences to their "followers" to develop a coherent policy agenda.