The Veteran Twitter Warriors of the Conservative Movement

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Twitter user @PatriotUSA76 obsessively monitored every tweet that Anthony Weiner sent out, eventually alerting Andrew Breitbart, who made Weiner the focus of his conservative attacks over the past week, to the message that eventually exposed the scandal. The New York Times has a glimpse into the small group of Twitter users "who warned young women about ... Weiner."

Organizing around a Twitter hashtag is nothing new, though, as the Atlantic Wire's Adam Clark Estes points out. He goes on to explain how hashtag-based organizing has been used by conservatives in the past, especially during the early days of the Tea Party movement.

In the days following the last presidential election, a small group of conservatives turned to Twitter in retaliation to Obama's championing of Facebook. After all, the Obama campaign hired Chris Hughes, one of Facebook's founders, to run their social media strategy, and the approach seems to have worked quite well. (Fast Company put Hughes in March 2009 on their cover and called him "The Kid Who Got Obama Elected.") Twitter, however, still had a relatively small user base at that time and according to conservative grassroots organizer and author Michael Leahy, "It seemed like a fertile opportunity."

Leahy took action in November 2008 and never expected his initiative to become so popular so quickly. "I didn't know if there were any conservatives on Twitter," Leahy told The Atlantic Wire. "So I started a list and I called it Top Conservatives on Twitter. Very quickly, I discovered that a lot conservatives were on twitter and were very competitive."

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

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