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‘The sleeping giant’: Conservatives gaining force online

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Posted on July 29 2010 12:15 pm
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by Chris Moody

With the turn of a phrase, Minnesota Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann seemed to sum up last weekend’s RightOnline conference, an annual gathering of conservative activists.

“The sleeping giant is awake,” she declared, drawing a thunder of applause and cheering that could be heard across the fifth floor of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, where the two-day event was held.

For years, the progressive Netroots Nation conference had monopolized the discussion about online activism. Republicans held the White House and Congress until November 2006, a reality that sparked a fury on the left and motivated them to dominate the online world.

The election of Barack Obama, however, turned much of that on its head.

For the first time ever, conservative blogs hold the top two slots in Technorati.com’s political blog ranking, pushing The Huffington Post, the long-reigning champion, to the fifth slot. Conservative blogs also make up half of the top ten political blogs on the Web, while the distinctly liberal blogs only claim two spaces.

With the turnover in power in Washington since November 2008, the progressives appear to have fallen into the same trap as the right did while in power. Compared to the noise they were making while former President George W. Bush held the White House, they have quieted down a bit online, opening an opportunity for their opponents to start taking the Web seriously.

Enter Erik Telford, director of membership and online strategy for Americans for Prosperity, a Washington-based conservative activist group. In 2008, Telford organized RightOnline to go head-to-head with Netroots Nation, training conservatives how to use the Web to organize their efforts. Telford coordinated the first conference in Austin, Texas during the same time as Net roots Nation, and the enthusiasm for the event has grown ever since. Only about 500 people showed up for that meeting three years ago. Last weekend, more than a thousand made the trip.

Read more at the Daily Caller

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