1. Young people, who often dominate social media, have a bigger bark than bite: If no one under the age of 30 had voted for Obama in ’08, he still would have won every state but two. In other words, young people don’t vote in significant numbers. And, the duel protests between conservatives and liberals at Chick-fil-A are a perfect representation of this problem: conservatives vowed to eat at the restaurant on August 1st and liberals are staging a “Same Sex Kissing Day” 2 days later. Kissing Day will get attention (and probably be more entertaining), but Chick-fil-A will still be too busy counting cash from August 1st to notice. Even if Twitter’s tool accurately reflected popular belief, it wouldn’t reflect popular action.
2. Conservatives Are likely late tech adopters: Liberals are likely more influential on Twitter, in part, because conservatives are late technology adopters. The same psychological tendencies that scare many Republicans away from social change also affect their willingness to try out new communication tools. Social media political trailblazers have almost universally been Democrats: Howard Dean pioneered online fundraising, Obama popularized online coordination, and The Huffington Post (owned by TechCrunch parent company, Aol) was an early adopter of reader-generated blogging. It’s true that some conservatives, such as Congressman Darrell Issa, are e-government pioneers. But, in aggregate, the risk-aversion associated with conservative beliefs bleeds into their technology prowess.