GOP Legislators Dominate Twitter —but Does It Matter?

Republicans have more followers, but benefits are unclear
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2009 9:02 AM CDT
GOP Legislators Dominate Twitter —but Does It Matter?
Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., at the State Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. He recently tweeted: "While in St. Joseph, I made a second stop at the Stetson outlet store to get a second pair of Levi's."   (AP Photo/Kelley McCall)

If you think Twitter is the preserve of skinny-jeaned urbanites, think again; in the corridors of power, Republican microbloggers are leading the way. Politico reports that 101 GOP members of Congress have Twitter accounts to only 57 Democrats, and Republican legislators posted 932 messages over two weeks this summer—nearly four times the Democratic total. The most popular tweeter in Congress? Onetime technophobe John McCain, with 1.4 million followers.

While Republicans are more numerous and have more followers than Democrats, it's unclear whether that's translating into any political benefit. Many messages are simply links to press releases or news stories, and more memorable tweets can cause trouble. During President Obama's February address to Congress, Texas Rep. Joe Barton posted, "Aggie basketball game is about to start on espn2 for those of you that aren’t going to bother watching pelosi smirk for the next hour." That was quickly followed by, "Disregard that last tweet from a staffer." (More Twitter stories.)

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