THE BLOG

Why Isn't CNN Using External Twitter Links?

01/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Did you catch the recent CNN.com story about GOP leaders vying for the Republican National Committee chairmanship and turning to Twitter to air their views and gain support?

CNN reporter Alexander Mooney praised President-elect Barack Obama for "he appeared to revolutionize the way technology could be integrated into every facet of a campaign -- from fundraising to media outreach to voter mobilization."

The Republican Party is playing catch-up, hoping to compete with Democrats in the next two pivotal election cycles.

"It would be suicide for the Republican Party and conservatives to not aggressively embrace technology," said Matt Lewis, a writer for the conservative Web site Townhall.com. "The world is dramatically changing in the way people get their information and the way they communicate -- the party needs to change with it."

It's great that CNN uses internal links pointing to keywords within topics.cnn.com, which supports search engine optimization and enables readers to click into in-depth reports, but the online media giant fails to use external links.

Wouldn't it be something if Mooney (or his editor) linked Matt Lewis to his TownHall.com blog or his Twitter profile at @mattlewis01?

Mooney continues:

The six declared candidates all keep active on Twitter, along with Facebook and a host of other sites, seemingly caught in an at-times comedic contest of who possesses the most online bona fides.

It's a clear sign the candidates know that the party is in need of a technology overhaul, said Patrick Ruffini, an online Republican strategist and veteran of President Bush's 2000 campaign and the RNC.

Again, why not link to @PatrickRuffini on Twitter?

Moreover, why not include links (or even in-text profile names) for the various candidates on Twitter?

  • Saul Anuzis, Michigan Republican chair: @sanuzis
  • Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State: @kenblackwell
  • Katon Dawson, South Carolina Republican chair: @katondawson
  • Chip Saltsman, former Tennessee Republican chair: @chipsaltsman
  • Michael Steele, former Maryland lieutenant governor: @steele4chair
  • Jim Duncan, current RNC chairman: @RNC

By clicking their Twitter links, I can see the candidates are replying to people, retweeting others, and engaging with the American people. I wish I could say the same for @barackobama during the campaign, where every tweet was a broadcasted message pointing to a press release. How boring!

At a time when politicians on both sides of the aisle are using Twitter, it's crucial that mass media link to their profiles to better inform society. Bloggers are doing the linking; shouldn't traditional online journalists, too?

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