Somebody needs to take Thom Tillis’s twitter account away from him. And if it’s not him tweeting, then somebody else needs to be relieved of it.

I’m guessing that the Speaker was snowed in Wednesday and bored. Throughout the day and night, his account was putting out a bunch of pedestrian tweets that had nothing to do with the broader conversation happening on twitter. It had all the hallmarks of a narcissistic politician trying to garner attention. It also had all the hallmarks of somebody who doesn’t really understand the medium.

Over the past few months, Tillis has taken a beating on social media. The conservative blogs have been bashing him as an establishment lapdog while promoting his more conservative opponents. Tillis has tried pandering to them, claiming that he championed their causes during the legislature, but it’s not flying.

While Tillis is out there as a lonely voice tweeting on his own behalf, conservative sites like Carolina Plotthound and The Daily Haymaker routinely criticize him. His campaign is apparently counting on a huge television buy to carry him over the top. The activists are counting on a much slower but powerful grassroots and social media campaign to define the Speaker as too establishment for the state.

That’s the difference between old media and new. Thirty second ads can reach a very broad audience in a matter of days or weeks. It’s one-way communication, from the campaign to the audience and it’s powerful because of the speed and breadth of its reach. However, the impression the ads make is relatively shallow.

In contrast, social media is a conversation. It takes months to have a real impact and reach a broad audience. While that audience is smaller, it’s better informed, more invested in some candidates and more opposed to others.  In addition, they are less influenced by the TV ads that begin in the final weeks of a campaign. Particularly in a low turnout primary, it can be a powerful force.

Nobody can win a campaign in a state the size of North Carolina without substantial use of traditional media. And if no candidate can get up on television besides Tillis, he’ll likely win the primary. But right now, the contrast couldn’t be more stark: An army of social networkers driving an anti-establishment narrative versus a deep-pocketed frontrunner sending out lame, self-serving tweets in the midst of a snowstorm.


  1. cooldela1966

    The old school Republicans want to bring Kay Hagan back home. The new breed want Kay to remain in the Senate if they cannot elect their candidate. I am of the GED school. Tillis may not be the ideal, he may have flaws and I do not like the “H” in Thom. But I would rather have him that Kay Chuck Schumer Hagan.

    If Thom is the standard bearer then I will support him.

    “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk? Do you think it is better to have Kay Hagan than one of our guys? Well, do ya?”

    • ML

      It’s better to have Hagan than one of your guys.

    • Bill Greene

      What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

    • J Bink

      > If Thom is the standard bearer then I will support him.

      Unless you are a Progressive Republican then he isn’t your standard bearer. If the DC lobbyists and Karl Rove manage to get Tillis past the primary then he’ll lose just like McCain and Romney because Conservatives will look at his past and realize that he will work against them.

      Take the time to learn about Tillis:

  2. Ann Kane

    He writes a lot about putting food on the table, but he’s way out of touch with the poor if he thinks his ordinary fare of “cedar plank salmon and tenderloin steaks” will win over their hearts.

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