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Dear Mr. Ferguson

Saturday, December 20, 2008 11:13 PM

[Background: Andrew Ferguson is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, a conservative newsmagazine and journal of opinion founded in 1995 by its editor William Kristol. He was formerly a speechwriter for President George H. W. Bush. Recently he wrote about a brief experience he had on Twitter. This is my response. —@libertyrant]

Dear Mr. Ferguson:

I suppose you would call me a twit. According to Princeton's WordNet lexical database, that means "someone who is regarded as contemptible." You used the term twit many times to refer to Twitter users in your Weekly Standard article "Twits on Parade," which was published around fifteen days before the Obama Democrats kicked the stuffing out of the Republicans at the polls. Almost immediately, we "twits" who did not support Obama and his leftist deceitful agenda began to ask each other what went wrong. Knowing we were limited to 140 characters, we could not write too much about what went wrong without embedding links in our messages, which is what we contemptible twits do. I plan to publish a link to this letter when I finish it and post it on my blog.

One of the first topics that we "twits" discussed after the election debacle was the ignorance of online social networking by Republicans relative to the famously net-savvy Democrats. Here's what we "twits" were writing about that at the time I composed this letter: http://tinyurl.com/6smtqh. There seems to be a general agreement that the GOP and the conservative movement had better catch up technologically if we were are to make a comeback.

Interestingly, your own article contained a really well-written tweet (a Twitter message) as its subtitle. What you (or another Weekly Standard editor) wrote was, "Twittering is the newest of the new media. And the worst." Only 58 characters. Assuming that you had much more to say in the entire article, I read it. Several times. After which I concluded that give or take a little hemming and a little hawing, your subtitle said it all.

You did have some wry comments in the article, which would have been worth a few more tweets. For example, "With Twitter, you can just tap your bladder's condition into your cell phone." Better yet, referring to the Twitter custom of self-revelation, not always honored, by the way, was, "It's like you're being turned inside out. The fulfillment of a dream." I really like that one. If I could find you on Twitter now, I would retweet that. I would send it to friends, who would send it some of their friends, and maybe a whole lot of people would read it. Or maybe not. On Twitter you never really know how many people are reading what you write. I suppose it's different at the Weekly Standard.

However, the dream for many of us "twits," and probably for you too, is actually a nightmare: the nightmare, you might agree, of seeing the country ruled by an Alinskyite community organizer and Chicago machine politician, a whole lot of Clinton retreads, and a Federal Reserve poised to print money like it's going out of style, which it might be. I do indeed feel turned inside out, and for that reason I am making use of those inside-out feelings to reach out as one person to another with my friends on Twitter who, one hopes, will pass on the message.

Your article cited some trivial reasons for using Twitter. I will cite my own reasons for doing so, and you can judge if they are trivial or not:

  1. Meeting and communicating with people who agree with me. (Where I live I am surrounded by Obama worshipers and cannot engage them easily about my political concerns.)
  2. Announcing and citing new and previous entries to my blog.
  3. Engaging in limited dialogue with leftists and others who disagree with me to discover where we have common ground, which, more often than not, we do.
  4. Engaging with other Twitter users throughout the world, like one, for example, who was right there in Mumbai when the mujahideen attacked.
  5. Discovering things that I never dreamed of or expected, for example, being selected as one of the top 300 conservatives on Twitter. (I have subscribed to the Weekly Standard for years, but have received no personal communications from them other than renewal notices.)

No, I don't find you to be contemptible and I would never call you a twit. I ask only, and respectfully, that you give Twitter another chance. Spend some time there. Encourage new followers, and follow the ones who interest you. Twitter, and the future of conservatism could use your help.

I'd love to continue this letter, but I gotta go to the bathroom now.

[Keywords: impeach-them-all.org article editor example standard twits twitter weekly ]