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Ron Paul Shows the Other Candidates How to Use Twitter, Links to OC

September 13, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Several of the campaigns involved in last night’s Republican debate used Twitter as a back channel to supplement their candidates’ appearances. The Bachmann and Gingrich campaigns used it to retweet people praising their performances and declaring them the debate winners. The Santorum and Cain campaigns used it to distill key quotes and sum up their answers. But The Ron Paul campaign did it best. They used the real-time nature of Twitter to back up several of his answers with supplementary links to primary source materials around the web. For example, asked about preserving Social Security, Paul said this:

One bill that I had in congress never got passed was to prevent the congress from spending any of that money on the wars and all the nonsense that we do around the world.

…and simultaneously tweeted this to their 60,395 followers:

The tweet links to the text of Paul’s “Social Security Preservation Act of 2007” on OpenCongress. He also tweeted versions of the bill that he introduced in other sessions of Congress with links to Govtrack.

Debates have to be the second worst way to learn about candidates (the worst, of course, being political ads). Every politician who participates in them can’t seem to resist using the rushed, live format to sneak in misleading contortions of facts or outright lies about other candidates’ and their own records. The debates, like just about everything else on network news channels, are basically designed to entertain for passive consumers of one-liners and identity politics. The Paul campaign’s use of Twitter here is a small but important push in the other direction — it actually assumes that the public is savvy, engaged, and caring enough to want to see things like legislative text for themselves. More like this please.


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  • John_Westra 09/13/2011 6:52pm

    Ron Paul’s use of Twitter is a good example of what “Politics” could be. If there is any hope left for the future of the Republic, it lies in real people, debating real issues, with real facts, in an open, transparent and accountable fashion. Social Media, like any tool, can be used for good (disclosure, dialog, debate) or ill (propaganda, politics as usual) The American People need to engage their existing and would be representatives and insist on the former, while resisting the temptation to themselves, engage in the latter!

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    sashabables 09/27/2011 2:31am

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  • eth111 09/14/2011 7:14am

    Mr. Shaw, I believe that you get the quote of the week, it might even be good enough for quote of the year.

    “The debates, like just about everything else on network news channels, are basically designed to entertain for passive consumers of one-liners and identity politics.”

    That line says it all; this is why this country is politically in the mess that it is. The MSM (including Fox) is actually hooked as well, making it seem like Paul is a non-contender when the polls show him as a front runner consistently.

  • nancym 09/14/2011 8:58am

    I’d have to say the third worst way to learn about candidates (or current policies of our representatives) are the very controlled town hall meetings held by some Tea Party House members like Allen West in Florida. I don’t agree with a lot of what Ron Paul says, but I give him credit for at least being up front about it.

    I watched a recent version of these on CSPAN recently and saw how he used much of the meeting for an introductory propaganda presentation that twisted statistics so badly that I know I would have had to stand up and shout an objection if I had been there in person. But then if I had actually done that, I would have been dragged off to jail, as that has already happened at his so-called town halls when anyone tries to object to the packaged talking points, even his own constituents.

    Welcome to our worst visions about 1984.

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