With the ascent of the Internet, modern political warfare is now increasingly waged online. The Obama presidential campaign raised millions of dollars through the Internet last year, and in doing so set a groundbreaking benchmark for utilizing social media to engage voters. Conservatives have openly acknowledged their fatal ineptitude at marshalling support via the Internet. But conservatives are quick studies and they’re learning from their counterparts how to bypass old media and communicate directly with their base.
French philosopher Voltaire once noted, “Nothing is so common as to imitate one’s enemies, and to use their weapons.” Conservatives have much to learn about the power of the Internet, but the recent Tea Party rallies and town hall protests indicate that the conservative base is using the Left’s online tactics to organize against and defeat their enemies. Conservatives are using blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and all sorts of social media networking to counter the Left’s push for more government takeovers, especially in healthcare and private industry.
Americans for Prosperity, the grassroots organization educating and empowering citizens to stand against government bureaucracy, is committed to utilizing the Internet’s incredible communication potential. That’s why last year AFP hosted its first Right Online conference in Austin, Texas, to train conservatives for Internet combat. This year, over 700 conservative political activists joined together in Pittsburgh for the second annual Right Online event.
Ironically, just across the river from Right Online, Leftists were attending their fourth annual Netroots National Convention. Founded by the Daily Kos, the influential liberal blog, Netroots has developed into a major political event for Leftist bloggers. In just two years, Right Online has become the premier gathering for conservative Internet activists.
Right Online caters to all levels of technology savvy, with sessions on Internet fundraising to lessons such as Facebook and Twitter 101. While there were plenty of young people already well-versed in their generation’s technology, there were also lots of older activists who recognize their need to participate online. After attending the Twitter 101 session, one older attendee triumphantly declared, “I did my first Twitter last night!”