Liberals Conservatives Should Follow on Twitter

You might be familiar with the #TCOT (Top Conservatives on Twitter) phenomenon. If you’re not, know that conservatives found a simple way to identify like-minded individuals and share information. (For more details, read “5 Easiest Ways to Advance Conservatism on Twitter,” “The Top Places to Find News You Can Use” and “How do you find the Right connections on Twitter?”) To date, liberals have made a pretty lackluster attempt to imitate the Right’s ingenuity with this. There’s been a mediocre effort to build #TOPPROG (Top Progressives) into a similar web movement. I recognize that because they’ve got the home field advantage for a couple years, they don’t have the same incentives to coalesce. In short, they aren’t anxious and angry like the Right. Still, when searching high and low, I couldn’t find a single, effective resource for exploring some of the best liberal accounts on Twitter, be they of individual writers and thinkers, media outlets or organizations. That kind of resource is valuable to new liberals joining Twitter who want to get active with online activism, obviously, but it’s valuable for our side, too.

Why, you ask, why would I waste my time with such an undertaking? Because I’m obsessed with seeking to understand how the other half lives. What motivates them? What are they talking about? What are they worked up about? What are they blogging about? What are they NOT blogging about? What do they read? Who do they respect? What do they do well? What are their weaknesses? Of course, these are sweeping questions that can’t apply to everyone on the Left; everyone I know on the Right would give a different answer to those questions in speaking about conservatives and Republicans. Nevertheless, it’s my new hobby. I’m receive so many Leftist email newsletters and briefings that I’ll never make it on the DHS right-wing watch list.

Before we dive into the list, a quick note about etiquette: You’re going to need a thick skin and some tangible way to maintain a healthy blood pressure when reading some of this stuff. Don’t feel the need to respond to everything with which you disagree. In fact, more often than not, don’t respond. Listen. Observe. Think of it as an exercise is sociology. And please, when you respond, choose your words wisely and be respectful.

Here’s a few nonprofit organizations, writers, media and more to get you started in your Twitter opposition research, in no particular order:

Huffington Post – Pick and choose what you’d like to read from their site by following @huffingtonpost, which runs a feed of all their blog content.

Daily Kos@dailykos is the main account. To take it to the next level, follow Kos himself (@markosm). Tracking the whole gang from Daily Kos could be a full-time job in and of itself, so I’m content to just follow those two accounts. If you really want to go nuts, check out the Dkosopedia with a list of popular Daily Kos users on Twitter.

Keith Olbermann – You won’t find him on Twitter, at least not for now. Turns out he declared Twitter “the worst persons in the world” without knowing that MSNBC was operating an account with his name. He even roped Fox News into the blame game without fact-checking with headquarters, it seems. Head to Flap’s Blog for more details, including video clips of the gaffe and the non-apology. Or, read the Twitter co-founder’s 140-character version of the story.

Sen. Claire McCaskill – As a St. Louisian and a big supporter of Sen. Jim Talent in 2006, @clairecmc‘s messages are must-read material for me, even if they are hard to stomach. She’s probably the most well-known liberal Twitter user in Congress.

Rachel Maddow – Sure @maddow is misguided and foul, but like it or not, the woman is a force with which to be reckoned.

Center for American Progress – With a budget of about $25 million, @amprog is THE organization for conservatives to watch. There’s simply nothing of this scope on our side, and they know it. (Update: The Heritage Foundation has a very large–larger–budget. I was referring more to the fact that they employ so many full-time bloggers and seem to reach a larger audience than any other organization.)

Think Progress – The @thinkprogress blog is project of the well-funded Center for American Progress. Sign up for their morning Progress Report email, too, if you can stomach it.

NOW – The National Organization of Women (@NationalNOW) was one of the first liberal groups I started to track a few years ago because I found that their press releases and other emails provided countless blog material.

Ana Marie Cox – The original and ever-foul Wonkette, @anamariecox is the Washington editor for (What liberal media?!)

VoteVets@votevets is a nonprofit organization for liberal veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ezra Klein, of The American Prospect@ezraklein is a popular associate editor of @theprospect.

Talking Points Memo – Follow Matt Cooper (@tpmmatt), editor at large of Talking Points Memo, and managing editor David Kurtz (@TPM_dk).

CodePink – Quoting Robert Greenwald, @codepinkalert posted a message yesterday that said women in Afghanistan don’t want the Taliban or the troops. The Pink Ladies and friends must be forgetting about the third option: waving a magic wand to end oppression and terror with mere glitter. Wait a minute …

Oprah – Just for fun and because she’s new to Twitter, you won’t want to miss @Oprah‘s messages. If nothing else, maybe she’ll give you some summer reading suggestions.

President Obama@BarackObama has better things to do than post to Twitter (he’s only sent a message a couple times since his election), but how could he not be on this list?

This list is just a start. Do you follow any liberals on Twitter? Which individuals or groups should be added to this list? I will be posting an update, so send your suggestions for additions to the list via Twitter or by posting a comment below.

This post was originally published on on 22 April 2009.

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