I Guess Paul Helmke Finally Switched Parties

Something odd has been happening on the Brady Twitter feed since yesterday afternoon.

They’ve gone full-on partisan with their tweets. Of their last 23 tweets, 21 have been labeled with either the #Democrats, #Liberal, or #p2 (progressive) hashtags.

I’m not naive enough to believe that most of their staff aren’t Democrats, but come on. One of the reasons they touted when they hired Helmke could be summed up as, “Lookie, we found a Republican who also hates guns. See, we’re bipartisan!” But with Rasmussen finding the number of self-identifying Democrats at an all time low last month and the number of self-identifying Republicans inching up to meet those numbers, it would seem like a bad idea to instantly wipe out half of your potential pool of support by tagging all of your commentary as geared for only Democrats.

I also would not suggest that it’s unwise to never use appropriate hashtags, even if they are party oriented. For example, if writing something about a Democratic Party activity, that would be a responsible and reasonable use. If complaining about Barack Obama, it might be relevant to use the party hashtag. But to label fundraising tweets, blog posts that aren’t political, and every other topic as for #Democrats only, that’s just madness for any group to do. Since it’s the Brady Bunch, I’ll just mock them. But if NRA started labeling tweets with party designation indiscriminately, I would hit the roof. I would be making every phone in Fairfax ring off the hook. Of course, that’s what happens when you have actual grassroots, not just donors who get a mailing once a year.

Service Use
During the holidays when DC basically shuts down, the Brady development staff hijacked the twitter account to send out tweets begging for donations. They abused it a little bit by sending them out too often and without any other good content, but I do applaud them for using HootSuite to both schedule their tweets and (assuming they were using it to the full ability) tracking which posts got clicks and resulted in donations. Lord knows how many times I’ve begged the daytime staff handling @NRANews to do the same thing so that they don’t flood my twitter stream with 10 posts at a time. If they just gave like a 20 minute buffer between news items, it wouldn’t be so bad.

But during the last day, the Brady feed has been updating every hour or so. They are also using a different shortner service that’s so underused, Twitter doesn’t even have its name featured in the tweets. (When using HootSuite, the tweets say that they are posted by that service, same with Seesmic and pretty much all other reputable sites.) Why make the sudden switch from a service so well-respected that even the White House uses it to some no name service? Why go from carefully timed posting to posting every single hour, even when there is no news?

Regurgitating Really Old Stuff
Whoever took over the Twitter account believes that all of the Democratic-only Brady supporters are best served by relinking really old blog posts that are more than a month old. Yes, the big breaking news late last night was Dennis Hennigan’s whine from early December that gun owners didn’t like his book. Or the equally urgent breaking news from December 10 that there was a memorial for police officers who have died in the line of duty hosted by a law enforcement group.

It’s not that I want to see the Brady Campaign succeed in meeting their mission, but man I have to wonder what kind of crack they are smoking in that office to think that posting month-old news every hour and limiting their posts to only attract the attention of Democrats is a good idea for their cause. I would love to pick the brain of the person responsible. Did Peter Hamm & Paul Helmke go on a new year vacation together and leave the interns in charge? Or did Helmke finally switch parties and decide to dive in by using the Brady Twitter feed to celebrate? What happened that made them go nuts with this social media abuse? Curious minds want to know…

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