Dem Convention: Some Ol’ New Media

The convention tweet-up was a success, but surprisingly, well, traditional


You have to wonder if the person who first came up with the phrase “tweet-up” thought it was a joke. This is so ridiculous, it sounds so funny, no one will ever actually use it, the person thought. (Incidentally this is likely how the Snuggie was also invented.) I’m sure that person—like the caveman who first made a fire—had small dreams for their newly invented phrase. Well sir, wherever you are, your moment has arrived.

The Official Tweet-Up of the Democratic Convention was, in many ways, a success. Free Jason’s Deli lunchboxes disappeared as around 40 people spread around chairs and filled the room almost entirely. Rep. Aaron Pena, one of the best known tweeting-representatives, emceed the event, introducing a line of candidates and elected officials. Linda Chavez-Thompson, who’s running for lieutenant governor, got some of the most response from the crowd, detailing her life as a migrant worker and, later, her time in the labor movement. During lulls, he talked about his own fun with Twitter, and how the new medium was gaining in legitimacy.

Everyone in the room seemed to keep their heads down and phones out—presumably tweeting away. “This is the only place where people aren’t ignoring you,” joked Pena, despite the appearance that no one was paying attention. (Applause lines seemed designed to reassure candidates that people were in fact listening.)

Certainly Twitter has been a big part of the convention. So far there have been almost 600 tweets using the designated hashtag #tdpsc. (For non-techies out there, a hashtag functions as a category.) An organized convention tweet site allows viewers to see every tweet and posted photo, not to mention advertising today’s tweet-up. In fact he even called on the Statesman‘s Corrie MacLaggan and yours truly to talk a little about the role of Twitter in writing and reporting. (Answer: Twitter-ers are important but not too important, ‘kay folks? I still need a job here as a “professional.” Ha.)

But for all the high-tech hijinks, the actual event was surprisingly tradition. As one candidate after another filed through, each gave a traditional—if casual—campaign speech. Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer did talk about the Mexican American Legislative Caucus’ plans to update their site, integrating social media and the stump speeches admittedly tended to include Twitter names. But they were the same speeches I heard an hour later at the Texas Young Democrats Caucus, which, I’m sorry to tell you, was frightfully dull.

Best part of the whole Twitter thing? Those people really committed to Twitter, you know the fancy iPhone folks, couldn’t get reception. Yeah, AT&T doesn’t seem to do so well in this place.