Hanging out on Twitter for Election 2008

Like most Americans, I spent last evening watching the election returns. CNN was my network of choice for national news. I watched the local ABC affiliate for state & local races.

To add a little spice, I opened the laptop and bottle of Cabernet, then I joined the conversation on Twitter. It was a nationwide chat, worldwide at times. But most of all, it was a fun way to exchange information and impressions on the most historic election of our lifetimes.

I began tweeting at about 10 a.m., foreshadowing the Obama victory in Ohio based on 70-degree temperatures and “blue” skies. I would post 36 tweets over the next 15 hours, many of them reacting to others on the network and some just goofy random thoughts like this one:

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Tweeting the election was fun, and it helped me control my incessant channel surfing. On the academic side, it gave me a snapshot of what this microblogging tool is all about. I learned, as I always do, by immersing myself in the experience. I also connected with former students, several of whom were campaign volunteers and understandably giddy by about 10:30.

My small circle of Twitter friends were cautious about calling the election for Obama. But not me. I made the call around 9:15 when Ohio went blue. As we all know, the GOP cannot win without us. I called up a quote from James Carville (from a month ago) to help me.

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I said good night when CNN finally called it for Obama around 11. But I stayed for the speeches and popped out a few more tweets. My Twitter neighborhood got quiet after that. The working stiffs went to bed, I suspect, and the true believers were drinking champagne.

If any of my Twitter friends supported McCain-Palin, they didn’t show themselves last night. My niche of the Twitterverse was a blue as the Ohio skies yesterday, and my exchanges online amounted to one big group hug celebrating the Obama victory. So enjoy the buzz, my friends, and wish our new president well. He’s inheriting a friggin’ mess.

For those of us who communicate for a living, I’ll share with you my final tweet of the night. I hope it adds perspective.  And thanks to Alan Wolk of AdWeek for reminding us about  “NASCAR Blindness.”

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3 Responses to Hanging out on Twitter for Election 2008

  1. Chris Sledzik says:

    Twitter is simply a more narrow chamber than the blogosphere. Micro blogging leads to less lead time between reflecting echoes.

    But it was fun to be a part of the conversation last night. My favorite was the tweets from knnpolitics — Kent State broadcast students spread out in Phoenix, Chicago, Columbus and elsewhere tweeting live coverage. I continue to be impressed by Kent State’s Journalism program.

  2. Bill Sledzik says:

    Good observations — especially about absence of reflection. It’s gonna be so easy to screw up on Twitter. I have 3 times posted a tweet before completion b/c of errant key strokes. No reputation damage — yet.

    As for your impressions of KSU Journalism, I tried to tell you this 6 years and $80,000 ago. But you know, the best part of going to college is getting outta town, even if it is to the Red State Republic of Oxford, Ohio. (And wow, does their football team ever suck.)

  3. I enjoyed using twitter for a different reason. I could follow nprpolitics and WashPostResults. In other words, I could use it for conversation, but it was also a news source with links.

    Echo chamber? Sure, but I’m using it mainly for chatting with friends, not serious dialog, which is nearly impossible in such short chunks of text.

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