Hi, please

The Tea Party Movement! – Concluding Post

Hello, this is Honieh your special Tea Party Correspondant bringing to you the latest earl grey, green tea news of the day! Jk.

What EXACTLY is the Tea Party?

Here is a quick summary on their founding values that you can fight on their site – I have shortened them a bit (they are pretty patriotic)

  • Fiscal Responsibility: Fiscal Responsibility by government honors and respects the freedom of the individual to spend the money that is the fruit of their own labor.
  • Constitutionally Limited Government: We, the members of The Tea Party Patriots, are inspired by our founding documents and regard the Constitution of the United States to be the supreme law of the land.
  • Free Markets: A free market is the economic consequence of personal liberty. The founders believed that personal and economic freedom were indivisible, as do we.

From what I’ve learned so far, the Tea Party, wants to revert back to the core values in the American Constitution. One of the main issues the Tea Party has been avidly against is the bailout of banks by the US government and the intertwining of governments and markets.


  • What has made this group unique is the their use of technology in promoting their cause. They have using mostly, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Blogs and also Fox News which has been the only television network that has reported this cause the most.
  • They are a grass roots movement, so most of there collaborating is done online and through viral marketing.


  • Facebook -The Tea Party Patriots Page has over 96,000 fans alone.
  • Twitter – Tea Party Patriots – 1200 followers
  • YouTube – TPP Channel – 204 Subscribers

What does this all mean?

I have take one small faction of the Tea Party Movement, the Tea Party Patriots, joined their ranks an looked over the mediums they are using? Now why would they take this route? Maybe they are taking a page out of Obama’s book by starting with something that doesn’t require main stream media to endorse.

The new media age enables users to collaborate. The Power Theory that Benkler discusses also is a good example of how these users are interacting. One person sends out a thread to a “not so interested” group of people, but they still skim over it. One of those people decides to broadcast that information, which then creates a domino effect. It is similar to celebrities no longer using publicist but their twitter feeds,


A) It’s cheap
B) It’s unedited
C) More people will pay attention to it if their a humanistic quality (you feel personal closer to the users)
Another analysis I tried – Google – Tea Party – 35.1 million hits today

In last week’s travelogue I discussed 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.

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 companySysomos 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:

#3PP Third Party Pledge http://www.thirdpartypledge.org
#73Wire 73 Wire http://73wire.com
This is the Conservative Version of the Huff Post.
#912C 912 Coalition http://site.the912coalition.or
#AFFT Americans for Fair Tax http://www.fairtax.org

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.


In my concluding post I wanted to compare twitter statistics between the 3 online movements I had brought up previously.

The first image below compares twitter statistics between Tea Party Patriots (TPPatriots) and IranElection. The Tea Party Movement has been around a lot longer than what up roar of the Iran Election and yet the Tea Party Patriots have over 2000 followers this week. 800 more than I had reported last week.

The next graph depicts teapartynews  – What I would like you to look at is the progression that is occurring here. In the previous example for the Iranian Elections, the graphic is pretty static and not much movement is occurring. In the graph below there is an upward climb everyday.

In the concluding graph I have compared the President Obama’s Twitter Account with Iran Election. The purpose of this graph is to portray the fact that in respect to the Tea Party, Iran Election, and any other online movements, the President of the United States does have the political lead in respect to the Internet.

In conclusion I believe the mainstream influence and propaganda being used in this movement is completely artificial based the on the stats I have provided in the charts below. It is very hard to gauge where this movement is headed, mainly because they are so many small individual groups separated by regions, causes and mainly the opinions of people. I do not believe that this is a unified movement in any case, and the exploitation of it has only been provided by Fox News in order to create a negative light towards the democrats and President Obama.

For those of you who may be interested this is the Tea Party Map which I located on Michelle Malkin’s Blog. This image is for the 3000 parties which were hosted last July. You can see the updated Google map HERE.

And to conclude: An interesting video I found:

Tea Party \”A Laugh\”

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  1. ElzbthMllr 21:57, Mar 8th, 10

    You are so brave to join the party for so many weeks! As a newly joined member of the coffee party (and I admit I’ve done nothing except “join”), I think that you are right in your conclusion when you state that the movement is artificial. It really forces me to think about collective action in the age of the internet. When people point to followers on Twitter, or to the quick spread of social movements, I have to question the validity of these statements. In the history of other movements, whether it was the women’s suffrage movement or the civil rights movement, there seems to be so much behind those movements. I’m not saying that isn’t there for the Tea Party, but because it’s not unified it doesn’t seem to be that there is anything legitimate behind it. I’m glad you lived to tell the tale!

  2. HoniehLayla 22:18, Mar 8th, 10

    E -

    As you said, it is “artificial” but only in respect to new age media (ie internet, collaborative action through SNSes, etc.) The Tea Party is a grass roots movement that is fairing better without the use of the internet, in larger groups throughout the United States, and even in parts of Europe. The “idea” of a Tea Party is very appealing, but there is no rich content on the net to justify it quite yet.

    The examples I posted – more specifically the Obama Campaign, is an exaggerated comparison, but it does portray one political movement vs another (ie: republican vs democratic).

  3. Leslie 23:32, Mar 8th, 10

    Cool analysis! That is pretty amusing that of all news networks, Fox if the one to talk about the Tea Party movement the most. With respect to the Tea Party moving into Europe, do you think this was done with or without the heavy use of the Internet/social media? Has there been any info on how the movement is starting to take shape in Europe?

    Also, just out of curiosity, I wonder how the percentage of “fans” of the Tea Party Movement on Facebook compares to the percentage of “followers” of the Tea Party on Twitter? They have so many more fans on Facebook…pending this also translates to a larger percentage of followers (and doesn’t just have to do with the fact that more people are on Facebook), I wonder why that is? I’d think that Twitter would be a better social medium for a group like this and could better help spread their message.

  4. HoniehLayla 09:41, Mar 9th, 10

    Leslie –

    For your second question, I can tell you that the Tea Party Patriots fan page on Facebook has over 160 thousand fans, and they are the largest TP group on that particular SNS.

  5. nadine 14:13, Mar 9th, 10

    What a pity your travelogue is over, I will miss your inside reports!! I am quite perplexed too about this movement. So real physical impact but failure in the digital network. Why??? I’d love to get the demographic statistics of the Tea Party. A theory could be that the majority of partisans are 35 years plus= not the core users of social network sites. About the difference between Twitter and Facebook: doesn’t Twitter requieres more engagement? With a Facebook group, you just click accept- and that’s it for most of the time, no consequent discussion…
    The Tea Party goes East, really? Where?

  6. HoniehLayla 14:21, Mar 9th, 10

    Nadine – that is a VERY good point. Users on Facebook are very passive about their fan page, then click to Join and that’s fairly it on the part of the user. In twitter, the users are much more active in updating their status feeds and rallying providing information.

    Facebook wouldn’t necessarily be the best platform for an online policial movement.

    So far the only person today that has benefited from Facebook is Betty White :)

  7. Leslie 10:09, Apr 24th, 10

    Hey Honieh- I made changes to the “Tea Party Movement” page on Wikipedia. It was mainly just fixing punctuation errors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_movement