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Former Virginia Governor’s Comment On Science At Convention Lights Up Twitter

from the Wired Blog Network


Image: Wordle.net

By Sarah Lai Stirland EmailAugust 27, 2008 | 3:27:52 AMCategories: DNC 2008

It didn’t ignite the crowd at the Pepsi Center in Denver Tuesday night in the same way as Hillary Clinton’s speech did, but the 2008 Democratic National Convention keynote by former Virginia Governor Mark Warner lit up the micro-blogging service Twitter as its geek community celebrated a throwaway line in Warner’s speech.

Warner, a former Capitol Hill staffer for senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) and telecommunications entrepreneur, focused his speech on creating an environment that keeps America competitive in the global economy.

In a one-liner, he quipped: “Just think about this: In four months, we will have an administration that actually believes in science!”

It was as if Warner were acknowledging a constituency that feels as if the Bush administration had thrown a Harry Potter invisible cloak over it for the past eight years. Many members of that online constituency poked their heads out from under the cloak on Twitter.

“In four months, we’ll have an administration that actually believes in science. lol, but YEAH!” tweeted kmcg.

“My fav from 2nite: ‘Just think about this: in six months we will have an administration that actually believes in science’-Mark Warner; YES!” agreed tujaded.

Those were just two of a slew of comments on Twitter reacting to Warner’s remark. Here’s a quick summary:

* jlangenbeck: “Warner’s speech was fantastic. We have to fund and tech to save this nation and remain competitive,”
* epolitics: “Diggin’ me some Mark Warner. Science! (poetry in motion)”
* dagsalot: “I’m a big fan of former Gov. Mark Warner right now. ‘Think, in 4 months, we could have a presidency that believes in science!’ It’d be nice!”
* twitterdoug: “Best line of Warner’s speech so far — In four months we will have an administration that believes in science.”

During his talk, Warner also pointed to the importance of broadband rollout, education and job training to keep jobs from migrating to India, referring to his own efforts as governor to revive small towns in Virginia.

“We delivered broadband to the most remote areas of our state, because if you can send a job to Bangalore, India, you can sure as heck send one to Danville, Virginia, and to Flint, Michigan, and to Scranton, Pennsylvania, and to Peoria, Illinois,” he said. “In a global economy, you shouldn’t have to leave your hometown to find a world-class job.”

The Democrats have made broadband rollout part of their party platform, and both Obama and Warner have expressed support for net neutrality.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Democratic National Convention, Election 2008, new media, ObamaBiden08

Ways the Obama Campaign Embraces New Media Tools

Text messaging could help Obama’s turnout

By KEN THOMAS –

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Barack Obama announces his choice for vice president, the real payoff may come during the next few months — one text message at a time.

Obama’s campaign plans to break the news of the Democratic candidate’s vice presidential pick to people who have signed up to receive e-mails and text messages from the campaign. It should give Obama’s team access to tens of thousands of cell phone numbers that could be used to mobilize voters under 30 on Election Day.

“What Obama is creating is this army of individuals, these grass-roots activists, who are out there trying to change the world in 160 characters or less,” said David All, a Republican strategist who specializes in technology.

Obama’s electronic outreach is the most prominent example of a larger movement by members of Congress and political campaigns to present their message and connect with voters through text messaging on cell phones, social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, and the microblogging site Twitter.

In Congress, some Republicans turned to Twitter in their protest of the Democrats’ energy policies on the House floor. When the House recessed in August, microphones on the floor were turned off, the TV feeds to C-SPAN ceased and the lights dimmed, but the Blackberries worked.

“Our voices can’t be shut down,” Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., typed on his Twitter site during the GOP protest.

Hoekstra said using Twitter during the protest “really opened up my eyes” to the site’s potential — the number of people following his postings grew from 10 to nearly 500 by the end of the day. His Republican colleague, John Culberson of Texas, uses Twitter a lot and has more than 3,000 followers.

Obama’s campaign has used the Internet to boost fundraising, building upon Howard Dean’s Web strategy in 2004, but the campaign’s use of text messaging has the potential to mobilize voters in a new way.

Obama’s campaign has encouraged supporters to sign up for e-mails and text messages and sent text messages to voters on the days of key primary contests. The messages also helped encourage supporters to attend local events and tune into Obama television appearances.

On the Web, Obama’s Twitter site now has more than 60,000 followers, who receive updates from Obama’s town hall meetings and links to his Web site.

Nick Shapiro, an Obama spokesman, declined to release the number of cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses the campaign has amassed. He said the text messaging has been “valuable because not everyone sits in front of a computer or a television.”

Republican John McCain’s campaign, meanwhile, has not highlighted text messages, concentrating on more traditional e-mail messages to supporters, outreach to bloggers, Web-based advertising and YouTube videos. McCain’s recent “Celeb” ad, which compared Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, has received about 2 million hits on YouTube.

Brian Rogers, a McCain spokesman, said the campaign’s Web strategy was aimed “at getting votes on Election Day and communicating the messages that we feel are important to our supporters.”

All, a former communications director for Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., said he remains concerned that McCain’s campaign and many Republicans are overlooking the potential of text messaging.

“Text messaging is really powerful. If I have a text message, I can forward that text message to over 100 people in my cell phone list,” All said. “It’s going to be read by every single person — have you ever not read a text message?”

Allison Dale, a University of Michigan graduate student who has studied the impact of text messages on voting, said Obama’s campaign was shrewd to give prospective voters a juicy piece of information — the vice presidential pick — in exchange for their cell phone number.

Cell phone numbers can’t be obtained in a directory, she noted, and the Obama campaign should be able to collect tens of thousands of numbers this way. But she said it was unclear whether the database will be heavy with political junkies or people who would be inclined to vote under any circumstances.

“We’re still sort of at the beginning of figuring out what you can do with the text messaging,” Dale said.

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