Liberal activists flock to new website to organize on Twitter

Though some liberal bloggers recently admitted that conservatives have used Twitter more effectively than them as an organizing tool, a new website has popped up that may help liberal activists online to take a greater foothold on the microblogging site.


The site, called TweetProgress, bills itself as "the directory of progressives" on Twitter. It intends to allow liberal activists to share projects and thoughts on the social networking site. So far, 1,280 people have added their account to the directory, and that number increases by the minute.


"We want to help progressives find each other on Twitter and coalesce around progressive issues and actions," TweetProgress co-founder Tracy Viselli told The Hill. "There is a huge pool of progressives out there doing very cool stuff already on Twitter, but not everyone knows about what they are doing. We hope to use TweetProgress to do that."


The site went live just in the last couple days--against the intentions of Viselli and the site's co-founders.


"Overnight we got 1,100 new people joining the directory--before the site was even live," she said. "There are worse things than having the site go viral before we were ready."


"There is as much interest out there or building the progressive infrastructure as we hoped when conceptualizing the site," she added.


The creation of the site from planning to launch happened over the course of just three weeks.


Viselli said that the concept for the TweetProgress was originally to promote a hashtag, an abbreviation that marks a topic on Twitter, for liberal tweeters.


TweetProgress co-founder Jon Pincus and Viselli created the hashtag #p2 (progressives 2.0), but Viselli said that it did not catch on widely enough on Twitter, especially compared to the conservative hashtag #TCOT (top conservatives on Twitter).


She said another progressive online activist Jim Gilliam contacted the duo to suggest constructing a directory site that would allow liberal activists to organize.


The creation of TweetProgress underscores the increasingly integral role Twitter plays in political activism and the differing approaches liberals and conservatives take in using the medium.


High-profile Democratic entities such as the White House and the DNC(@BarackObama) reach over one million Twitter followers, but many more conservatives use #TCOT than liberals use #p2.


"It's funny that the tables have turned," Republican new media consultant David All told The Hill, noting that liberals had dominated conservatives in their use of political blogs long before conservatives took to Twitter.


All recognized that TweetProgrss would help "progressives brand their hashtag" and serve as means to unite liberals around #p2.


"They see how well we are using [Twitter]," he added.


But liberals want to stand apart from conservatives on Twitter. Whereas #TCOT has a website that ranks tweeting conservatives under the categories "most followers," "most interesting," and "most follows," TweetProgess aims to help liberals share issues and actions.


"I think we've always seen ourselves as different from conservatives on Twitter," Viselli said. "First, TweetProgress is not built around there being an elite like [#]TCOT is. We want everyone to join the progressive fold and help us get our message across."


All said that the competitiveness of the #TCOT concept is "what drives conservatives to participate."


In that spirit, All said that the two sides are engaging in "sort of an arms race" on Twitter, trying to outfox one another in effective ways to reach the most people.


TweetProgress' launch will "help inspire our team to get involved even more," All said.


"We are tired of getting beat. This isn't a game to conservatives," he added.



Cross-posted to the Twitter Room