Twitter's Influence on Texas Politics This Week

While Facebook might be topping the box office, it's Twitter, that 140-headed Medusa of a social network, that's been making waves in Texas political circles this week.  The Texas Tribune, fresh off their first-ever "tweet-up," had a wordy post today about Texas political campaign astroturfing, which the Statesman initially broke last week after a former Rick Perry employee had his anonymous pro-Perry Twitter account outed (notably, it was outed by an auto-tweet from another burgeoning social networking site started here in Austin called SocialSmack).  Phillip Martin (@phillipmartin) has more on this over at BOR.

Additionally, The Texas Observer's Melissa Del Bosque has a fascinating look at the use of Twitter across the border to keep citizens informed of cartel violence in Reynosa, Mexico.  It's certainly a new practical use of the service and one that Twitter, as a company, has shown a strong commitment to fostering.   Earlier this year, Twitter swiped former Google employee Katie Stanton (@katies) from the State Department to head up their international strategy.

Also this week, the Austin American Statesman's tech writer, Omar Gallaga (@omarg), had a front page story about the Governor's race and how both candidates are leveraging social media to get ahead.  Before the story went to print last week, I happened to ask some questions on Twitter about Rick Perry's tendency to "block" progressive bloggers from following him on Twitter.  In the spirit of the influence of Twitter, it seemed only appropriate to point out that a simple conversation on Twitter ended up adding to the story itself:
[Perry] says he blocks Twitter users who attack him with bad language, but he's also blocked a few progressive bloggers, according to a Twitter list kept by Katherine Haenschen of the Democratic news site Burnt Orange Report. When a Twitter user blocks someone else, the user's tweets no longer appear in that blocked person's stream of messages, and the blocked person is no longer on the user's list of followers.
The conversation of how that paragraph came to be is below.


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