Conservative First

April 17, 2009

Protesting Is Not Enough

I recently ran across a quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” I’ve had a couple of exchanges on Twitter along these lines, and I’d like to paraphrase the Renaissance genius for contemporary conservatives:

Listening to talk shows is not enough; we must study.

You can learn a lot from listening to, watching, and reading Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, and other talk show hosts about current events and issues; I have. However, if you want to really understand issues and be able to support your views, you need to study history, philosophy, economics, and specific issues in depth. That probably means reading. (Horrors!)

Obviously, you should start with the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers.

After that, you can find books (and websites) on various issues on the Information on Issues for Conservatives wiki, and I plan to add to this wiki in the future. I would also recommend Penn Pfiffner’s Freedom Reading List on the Free People Free Markets Ning site. Glenn Beck has some history books listed on the 912 Project website, and last week he spoke to the authors of the following books on an episode of his show titled “Destined To Repeat(?)”:

  • Robert Gellately, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe
  • Ronald. J. Pestritto, Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism
  • Amity Shlaes, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression
  • Johan Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change

Complaining is not enough; we must teach.

Start with your family, especially children and college/university students, and friends.  Join the online conversation with a Twitter account or a blog.  (If you need help, I’m working on a series of lessons on Social Media for Conservatives.)  Explain to them what you’ve learned in your studies.  Discuss the issues in a reasoned and polite manner.

Protesting is not enough; we must lead.

Contact your elected representatives and let them know what you think about the issues they’re considering.  Volunteer for a conservative official or candidate.  Serve in your community on a city or county board or commission or with a non-profit organization.  Run for office.

Whatever you do, stick to your conservative principles.

March 7, 2009

SM4Cons – Lesson 3: Understanding Tags

Before we delve any deeper into social media or web 2.0 applications, it’s important to understand tags.

In your filing cabinet or on your computer, you create folders to store related documents.  You create a taxonomy, or system of classification, for your documents.  However, unless you make copies, each document can be stored in only one place under one classification, and you have to remember where you put it.

With tags, you can use several different classifications for each item.  Look at a post on a blog, a page on a wiki, or a bookmark on a social bookmarking service.  Clicking on a specific tag (or label or category) will bring up items with the same tag.  This system of using tags for classifying items on the web or a computer is called folksonomy.

This video explains “Tagging & Folksonomy”:

In this one, Robin Good discusses  “Tags:  Content Tagging and Its Importance”:

For more information, read these articles:

You can also watch these presentations on SlideShare:

This is the third in a series of lessons to help conservatives who are less comfortable with the internet learn what these services do and how they can be used.  I will be also be publishing and updating the information on a wiki.  Future lessons will cover finding more blogs to read, commenting on them, and reading them using RSS feeds.

Earlier Lessons:

Lesson 1: Defining “Social Media,” “New Media,” and “Web 2.0”
Lesson 2: Understanding Blogs

February 28, 2009

SM4Cons – Lesson 2: Understanding Blogs

Filed under: Social Media for Conservatives — Sofie @ 7:45 pm
Tags: , , , ,

A web log is essentially a journal or log kept on the web.  Eventually the two words were joined as weblog and then shortened to blog.  A blogger is a person who has a blog, and the blogosphere is entire community of bloggers.

This video by Common Craft explains “Blogs in Plain English”:

Blogs range from personal daily diaries to professional publications.  Each entry or post is dated, and they appear in the blog with the latest first.  In recent years, quite a few pundits and ordinary people have started using blogs to write about and comment on political events and issues.  For conservatives, blogs, like talk radio, can provide news that we don’t get from the mainstream (“old”) media.

Some of the more prominent conservative blogs and bloggers include

For Colorado, you can find some of the most prominent bloggers at

This is the second in a series of lessons to help conservatives who are less comfortable with the internet learn what these services do and how they can be used.  I will be also be publishing and updating the information on a wiki.  Future lessons will cover using tags,  finding more blogs to read, and commenting on them.

For more information, read these articles:

Earlier Lesson:

Lesson 1: Defining “Social Media,” “New Media,” and “Web 2.0″

February 20, 2009

Social Media for Conservatives (SM4Cons) – Lesson 1: Defining “Social Media,” “New Media,” and “Web 2.0”

Social media includes web-based services for blogging, microblogging, social networking, podcasting, photo and video sharing, and others that allow users to produce content and communicate with others.  All of these applications are encompassed within the idea of web 2.0, which is the term used to refer to the second-generation of web-based services used for communication, collaboration, and productivity.  In addition to the types of applications considered to be social media, web 2.0 includes social bookmarking services, wikis, web-based productivity applications (word processing programs, spreadsheets, and presentation programs), and, by stretching the definition some, virtual worlds.

New media includes all of this and any computer-based media.

This video by Common Craft explains “Social Media in Plain English”:

In order to advance conservative causes and support conservative candidates, we need to use all of the tools available to us, including the ones listed above.  I’m hoping this series of lessons, which I will be also be publishing and updating on a wiki, will help conservatives who are less comfortable with the internet learn what these services do and how they can be used.

For more information, read these articles:

You can also watch some or all of these videos on YouTube:

I found the following definitions by searching Google, which does have its uses, though I don’t think it’s the best search engine out there.

Definitions of “social media” on the web:

  • Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words … (
  • The term social media describes media that is posed by the user and can take many different forms. Some types of social media are forums, message boards, blogs, wikis and podcasts. Social media applications include Google, Facebook and YouTube. (
  • Software tools that allow groups to generate content and engage in peer-to-peer conversations and exchange of content (examples are YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, MySpace etc) (

Definitions of “new media” on the web:

Definitions of “web 2.0” on the web:

  • The second generation of the World Wide Web, especially the movement away from static webpages to dynamic and shareable content (
  • The phrase Web 2.0 refers to a perceived second-generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — which aim to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users. … (
  • The use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to facilitate creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users. … (
  • Web 2.0 describes a transition of the World Wide Web from a system of websites to a second generation platform of social networking sites, communication tools, and web applications. Web 2.0 services may, in the future, replace desktop applications for many purposes. … (
  • This is the name which has been given as an umbrella term to what is considered to be the next phase of the evolution of the internet, encompassing technologies such as blogs, wikis and other forms of interaction, development and innovation above and beyond the web technologies which have been … (
  • A term to generally describe web sites and services where the content is shaped partially or entirely by the users (instead of being read-only and published by a sponsoring company). (
  • There is no simple definition for Web 2.0. Broadly put, it is a paradigm shift in the way the Internet is used. Web 2.0 involves a more open approach to the Internet, in particular user-generated content, Blogs, Podcasts, social media, review sites, Wikipedia, etc. (
  • A new way of thinking about the web which provides tools and functionality for publishing, collaboration, and information access that normally … (
  • A generic term that describes a class of Web-based tools that enable the publishing and management of user-created content. This includes social and professional networking sites, community sites, blogs, wiki’s, discussion boards, user-submitted reviews and ratings, and more. (
  • A term coined by O’Reilly Media in 2004 to describe a second generation of the web. This describes more user participation, social interaction … (
  • This term refers to the “second generation” of services that are available on the World Wide Web. Web 2.0 applications include blogs, podcasts, ppc marketing, wikis, tagging and RSS syndication. Web 2.0 is a rather large category of services that share some basic themes: (

January 25, 2009

My Article about Politics in Second Life

Earlier this week, I had an article about politics in Second Life published on the Social Media Platoon website.  Check it out if you haven’t read it yet.

Video: “Web 2.0 Summit 08: The Web and Politics”

Filed under: Politics,Technology — Sofie @ 12:31 pm
Tags: , ,

Video:  “Web 2.0 Summit 08: The Web and Politics

The Web and Politics:  John Heilemann (New York Magazine), Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post), Gavin Newsom (City and County of San Francisco), Joe Trippi (Trippi and Associates)”

January 11, 2009

More Questions for #RNCChair Candidates

I have some more questions for the RNC Chair candidates:

  • Do you play any MMORPGs?  Do you have a Second Life avatar?  How much experience do you have with online multi-player role-playing games and/or virtual worlds?
  • How can Second Life and other virtual worlds be used to advance our candidates and causes?
  • If you have been a state party chairman, what was the percentage of elected offices in your state held by Republicans when you started and when you finished?  How will your experience in that office influence your decisions and actions as RNC Chair?
  • If you have run for office or managed a campaign, what is your win-loss record?  How will your campaign experience influence your decisions and actions as RNC Chair?
  • How long have you been using “social media” like Twitter and Facebook?
  • Have you ever had a blog?  When did you start it?  How often do/did you post in it?

December 29, 2008

My Take on Twitter after a Month

I joined Twitter on December 1.  As I wrote the next day, I was aware of a number of my professional colleagues (in higher education) who were using Twitter.  I didn’t see the point, but I decided to give it a try.

Right now I’m following 36 people/groups, I have 59 followers, and I’ve posted 132 updates.

Some people I follow are on the Top Conservatives on Twitter list.  People on the list are ranked by the number of followers they have.  The first-ranked person on the list currently has 7,355 followers and is following 6,510, and none of the tweets on his page right this minute have anything to do with conservative politics.

The stated purpose of the TCOT list is “to build the conservative community on Twitter.”


What will this “community” do?  How can more than 7000 individuals and organizations be a community anyway?  How can the top-ranked conservative possibly read updates by 6510 people?  (I can’t keep up with all the updates of the 36 that I’m following.)  How will increasing the number of followers of conservatives on Twitter aid the conservative movement?

Barack Obama has 156,095 followers on Twitter, but what did that accomplish?  Did his presence on Twitter actually convince anyone to vote for him, or was it just a morale builder for liberals?

There may be a point to following conservative candidates and leaders (like Michelle Malkin) on Twitter to demonstrate our support for them and find out what they are doing and thinking.  However, that doesn’t explain why I should “follow” anyone else who calls him- or herself a conservative–especially if he or she is posting about other uninteresting (i.e., personal) topics.

To be honest, I still don’t see the point of Twitter, or other microblogging services, and I think their potential in education and political activism is limited.  There are other tools that will probably work better–once we decide what exactly we are trying to accomplish in the conservative movement with web 2.0 (including “social media”) applications and other technology like virtual worlds.

I suspect, though I have no proof, that this emphasis on social media by a segment of the conservative movement is being lead by marketing types.  If conservatives want to learn how to use technology effectively to advance our candidates and causes, we should look to people in instructional technology and technical communication–not in marketing and advertising.

We need to focus on teaching Americans about the Constitution, the history of the country, capitalism, conservatism, etc., rather than trying to be the most popular conservative on Twitter or Facebook.

Yes, I will continue to update my Twitter account, and I hope my followers will find my posts informative and/or thought provoking.

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