Tales from the Trail

from Summit Notebook:

McCain to Gaga: I’ll save my talking for the Senate

Don't expect Senator John McCain to respond to critical Twitter comments from pop star Lady Gaga as the U.S. SUMMIT-WASHINGTON/MCCAINSenate girds for a showdown over gays in the military.

"I only Twitter with Snooki, as you know," McCain said Monday at the Reuters Washington Summit.

The Senate is expected to take up the hot-button issue on Tuesday, and McCain said he expects to focus his efforts on the floor of the Senate, not the popular microblogging service.

But he says the gay-friendly pop star and her followers are welcome to weigh in.

"I welcome her in the debate, I welcome all of her young fans into the debate," McCain said. "It's good to have lots of people involved.

Twitter opinion analysis shows midterm ‘enthusiasm gap’

In order to gauge the mood of voters as the midterms approach, Reuters has joined with market research company Crimson Hexagon to conduct a detailed assessment of the political mood as expressed by Twitter users. As a first step in this process we’re taking a look at the feeling expressed by Twitter users toward the Democratic and Republican parties in general.

This analysis is similar to one we conducted during the British general election earlier this year that showed changes in Twitter sentiment immediately following television debates and candidate gaffes that were echoed in opinion polls conducted days after the events.

In life, it often seems that people are more likely to speak up with criticism rather than praise. Our numbers show this is true on Twitter as well, with negative tweets about parties more common than positive ones. As you can see from the graph below, over the last nine days, roughly similar numbers of Twitter users have had something bad to say about both political parties:

Sarah Palin, the Bard of Wasilla

USA/PALINWashington’s Emma Ashburn had some thoughts today on Sarah Palin’s latest literary stylings:

Sarah Palin: former Alaska governor, ex-vice presidential candidate, bard.

The media-savvy Republican introduced a new term over the weekend, using the word “refudiate” on her Twitter feed at SarahPalinUSA when she opined on plans to build a mosque at the site of the 9/11 attacks in Manhattan. Later, she suggested she wasn’t doing anything William Shakespeare hadn’t done.

Her first tweet on Sunday read:

* Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate

White House to Kremlin: how r u? OMG…

President Barack Obama suggested to visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that it might be time to toss out the red phone from Cold War days and open new lines of communication between the United States and Russia — Twitter.

(Although Obama may want to get the terminology down first, it’s Twitter not Twitters). USA-RUSSIA/

Obama cracked the joke at a news conference at the White House with Medvedev, who earlier this week visited technology firms in California and stopped at Twitter offices where he sent his first tweet.

The tweets of your life, now archived at the Library of Congress

PRESIDENTSDid you tweet what you had for breakfast today? If so, that bagel and coffee are now immortalized, sort of, as the Library of Congress has acquired the entire Twitter archive. Billions of 140-character musings, some 55 million tweets a day, just waiting to be read. You may wonder if anyone reads your tweets, but at least they’ll be in good company.

Even though Twitter has only been around since 2006, there are tweets that will live in history, such as Barack Obama’s message when he won the presidency in 2008: “We just made history. All of this happened because you gave your time, talent and passion. All of this happened because of you. Thanks” — a pretty big message for 140 characters, and yet gets the story told.

The library announced the move on Twitter, of course. Twitter unveiled it on its blog from Chirp, the official Twitter Developer Conference in San Francisco.

Gibbs Twitter math: 4 days, 8 tweets, 22,500 followers

NUCEAR-IRAN/MISSILES-USABasically all White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had to do was turn up … and they followed by the thousands.

Gibbs launched his first tweet on Twitter @PressSec this Saturday asking for micro-blogging tips and by Tuesday he had more than 22,500 followers. (OK so there may be a touch of envy from some of us still struggling in the three-digit follower realm).

Asked whether he was sending all the tweets — eight so far — himself, Gibbs replied: “Inexplicably, yes.”

Hail to the Tweet!

The president has tweeted.

In a first, President Barack Obama sent a tweet while visiting the American Red Cross headquarters on Monday to survey its response to the Haiti earthquake. OBAMA/

“I just tweeted,” he announced to Red Cross staff members and reporters after posting to the popular social networking and micro-blog site Twitter.

Three Red Cross staffers said they had typed a message for the Red Cross Twitter feed  and the president agreed to hit the “update” button when he stopped at their desk.

Obama’s tweets hit milestone, but Ashton is the twitterer-in-chief

President Barack Obama may be the leader of the free world, but actor Ashton Kutcher is the king of twitter and pop princess Britney Spears is, USA/OBAMAer, its princess.

 Obama’s twitter feed recently attracted its 3 millionth follower, which was announced with this tweet — “As we kick off 2010, our Twitter community has grown to over 3 million. I continue to be grateful for your partnership as we work for change” — on Monday afternoon.

The development made Obama’s feed — actually run by the Democratic Party’s National Committee — only the fourth ever to garner such attention. But he still remains far behind the leaders, the Hill newspaper noted on its “Twitter Room” blog.  They each have 4 million followers, the blog said, citing TwitterCounter .  

Counting population: Census road tour begins

Road trip!

The Census Bureau on Monday launched the “2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour” to reach out and convince everyone living in the United States to be counted in its once-a-decade population survey, which can alter political districts and affect where billions of dollars in federal funds are spent. USA/

The tour set off from New York City and will include 13 vehicles visiting about 800 events around the country over four months, including the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras.

Vehicle updates can be followed on Twitter @2010Portrait and on Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and YouTube.

Tweets to Tackle Health Care

Public anger boiled over at some highly publicized town hall meetings during the summer as U.S. lawmakers weighed health reform plans — but what happens when the debate moves online?

New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone will find out Monday.
FILM-BUZZ/
He’s holding a three-hour online Town Hall meeting to discuss healthcare reform on Twitter, the micro-blogging website known for its short 140-character text messages.

Pallone, a Democrat and one of the authors of the House of Representatives health bill that passed Nov. 7, will use the time to help answer questions about the roughly 2,000-page measure.