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July 12, 2013 5:38 PM Sharknado, the Twitterverse, and Politics

By Ed Kilgore

I don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter in the evenings, being only an occupational user of that social medium, not an addict. So I missed the Twitterpalooza last night surrounding the airing of the SyFy Channel movie, Sharknado.

But the Twitterfrenzy was apparently pretty intense—so intense that when Ezra Klein learned the flick had not attracted that many viewers, he used it as an example of how the Twitterverse really, really isn’t America, and then analogized it to the out-of-touchness of Washington political media generally.

[I]t’s not just Twitter. It’s political media in general, of which journo-Twitter is only a particularly virulent subvirus. Stories that obsess Washington for days often fail to leave even the slightest dent in the electorate. And that’s a bit of a problem because the reason the political press typically gives for swarming some gaffe or conflict is that it’s going to matter in the election. We need that justification.

Couldn’t agree more. But it does make me wonder, and not for the first time, about the obsession with Twitter domination among conservative online activists during the 2012 election cycle. Indeed, it seems the Romney campaign was pushing our wingnutty friends in that direction, though it’s possible they were just giving them something to do to keep them from being underfoot.

Even now, I get a chuckle imaging feverish young conservative hammering out tweets late at night, convinced they were helping wheel swing states into the Romney column. That’s even worse than tweeting about a so-bad-it’s-good shark movie on cable.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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