Hi, please

{Online Political Movements} – Green/Tea/Obama?

This your special correspondant H, reporting to you from the Tea Party. It’s been a crazy year. We have a new president, a new style of revolution, and a Tea Party???

Have any of you heard of the term Digital Native? This term sparked my attention during my research. I have also tagged it onto our blog. So what does it mean?

Some Digital Natives are deeply affiliated with all sorts of interests that bring them together organically: Piracy groups, massively multiplayer online games, open source software development, cracking encryption, etc. Others become deeply interested in movements such as Anonymous, the RBN (Russian Business Network), or even terrorist organizations.

The three movements I have listed in my title all POSSESS people of this type. A Digital Native as an online footprint or citizenship in the internet realm as well as the physical world.

I bring this up mainly because people tend to collaborate online more, and in much larger numbers because of the anonymity that is involved. People will voice their opinions and be free.

Currently the predominate view of the Tea Party is:

Within the Tea Party, there are separate factions with separate goals. Some activists want the various parties to coalesce into a single organization, while others want to keep it a grass-roots movement with no leader. via CNN

The idea of no leadership goes back to the “Hive Mind” or collective aspect of these group. Internet technology enables this structure to exist so no formal leadership is not required.

In this case of the Iranian so called “Green” Twitter Revolution, a repressed country such as Iran, uses only these sorts of outlets to get their messages across. Iranian’s used different tactics that the Tea Party because they had to keep their identities hidden.  No formal leadership is established on the net for the Iranian activists. It is a cause that keeps them unified. The following are list of general tactics used during the June Elections in Tehran.

1. Tactic #1 – Change your time zone on twitter, and retweet all the information coming your way.

2. Tactic #2 – Change your name on FB, Twitter, A study by social media analytics company Sysomos shows that of 65 million population, there are only 19,235 Twitter users who disclose their location as Iran. DdOS Attacks, etc.
3. Tactic #3 – Create Green photo of yourself
4. Tactic #4 – Upload videos/photos – repost, retweet and let it spread…

Now these are only a few strategies.

The Tea Party doesn’t have to be concerned with concealing their identities. They protest freely in the streets without worry of being photographed. What are some of the tactics they use? In the case of twitter, they are not on a centralized network because there are many Tea Parties depending upon the region you live in. Fundamentally, they can be categorized as a distributed network.

  • You Tube
  • Facebook – Mainly Fan Pages
  • Their Own Websites
  • Twitter Feeds

Tea Party Twitter Feeds:

These are a few examples I found on Don Mashak’s Political Twitter Tweets. This blog posts just about all the most popular Twitter hash tags, FB pages and describes each one.

The 2008 Obama Campaign:

The Presidential campaign encompassed many different tools via the internet. The You Tube debate was very popular, by having ordinary citizens post their questions online via video for the candidates to answer.

Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama created a broad grassroots movement and a new method of campaigning by courting and mobilizing activists, donations, and voters through the Internet. It was part of a campaign that mobilized grassroots workers in every state. Obama also set fundraising records in more than one month by gaining support from a record-breaking number of individual small donors.

Another example of Internet use in political movements:

Ron Paul:

On December 16, 2007, Ron Paul collected $6 million, more money on a single day through Internet donations than any presidential candidate in US history.

May called this a fundraising gimick but it worked to the advantage of Paul’s campaign.

In my final post I would like to analyze the back and forth between the Media and Online resources is occurring.


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  1. ElzbthMllr 16:23, Mar 5th, 10

    I had never heard of the term digital native before so thanks for enlightening me! After reading several of your posts about the immersion into the Tea Party world, I wonder if it would be as successful as it has been (and success is a term we can debate in class – are they really successful?) without the rapid adoption of technology. Have you done any research that would let you aggregate some of the Twitter data, its hashtags, characterization of the tweets around it etc. I also find it interesting that your research has shown that the efforts are mostly decentralized – much like the internet itself. I wonder if this helps or hurts the Tea Party’s cause. I think it’s pretty clear that it’s leading to the Hive Mind theory however. It’s difficult to tell what people’s reactions to the Tea Party is, are they taken seriously? How are they portrayed in the media. I know these issues are not your primary research, but they are the questions that your research has led me to ask.

  2. HoniehLayla 16:29, Mar 5th, 10


    I have been concerned about the success of this movement as well and would like to do more analytics to see if this is actually going somewhere or is it just an idea that Fox News decided to pick up on and bring forth to main stream media. The only reason I say this is that in one of the feeds that I was monitoring last week, they had about 1200 followers. I’m not personally active on Twitter very much, but from Mushon’s comment I realize that a fan base such as that on twitter is not substantial enough to have so much press coverage.

    The media aspect of all this – no they aren’t taken very seriously, and at times made fun of.

  3. nadine 21:00, Mar 5th, 10

    1200 followers on Twitter is indeed a negligible number. As we discussed in class, it would be interesting to examine the differences of the virtual and physical Tea Party movement. How many physical meetings have taken place in the last few months? How many people showed up for the protests? Maybe they rely on other means of communication, and Twitter is just an additional tool. Though if this isn’t the case, your thesis would be a real scoop- Fox exaggerating the Tea Party numbers and marketing it as a serious political movement.

  4. mushon 10:16, Mar 6th, 10

    I wonder if the hashtag use stats might serve as better indication of Twitter penetration, though I will be surprised to find out Twitter is actually widely used in this case. This mainstream/social/viral media separation might be slightly artificial though, as I would argue it’s also hard to pinpoint how much of the #iranelections trending topic was informed by supportive Western mass media coverage of the events. It is also interesting to note how the grassroots social media has come to represent the authenticity and validity o a political movement (a turf previously held by protest headcount).
    I think you are right to draw the threads with previous campaigns. I think the Tea Partiers are managing their media correctly and it is wrong to expect they would use exactly the same balance of tools as the (much more social media savvy /much less talk radio & Fox TVed) liberals do.

  5. mushon 10:17, Mar 6th, 10

    RT @heif: Brooks:”TeaPartiers closer to NewLeft & don’t seek to form counter-estab because they don’t believe in estab/struct/orgzn http://j.mp/ai3uKl

  6. Leslie 20:33, Mar 6th, 10

    As Nadine said, it would be interesting to compare/contrast the virtual vs. the physical. What was promoted in the news might just be more blown out than reality because while the group might not be all that big physically, they are very open and outspoken about their ideas in the public setting? Or maybe Tea Party people just aren’t Twitter users? Does it mention on the teapartypatriots site how many total “members” there are? I just tried to check and noticed that you had to be a “member” of the site yourself in order to see other members.

    I haven’t heard of ‘digital native’ either- thanks for the info on that! As digital natives, I guess we just like to become a “part” of something. Maybe some people jump onto the Tea Party Patriots “bandwagon” for some time, but then are quick to move on? Maybe there’s only a small number that are true followers.