republican – Stay N Alive

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff Has 8,000 Twitter Followers. And?

Screen shot 2009-09-25 at 12.12.16 PMToday Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, our favorite Twitter political celebrity and Senate candidate who DM Failed his Senate campaign announcement, made another announcement on Twitter (at the same time calling all of us “Twitophiles”) I just had to share with you – yes, (gasp!) he has more than 8,000 Twitter followers.  That’s right my friends – the candidate set to take on Senator Bob Bennett for his Senate seat is “Taking Back America” one Twitter follower at a time until he’s taken them all and he owns Utah on Twitter.  Or is he?

Let’s look at his follower numbers – there’s something fishy here.  While he has 8,063 followers, he’s following 8,743.  From my experience of running an auto-follow service (which he’s not using – buy Utah!), generally when the numbers of people you are following is higher than those that are following you, it generally means a) you are running an auto-follow tool, and b) probably about half of those followers are spam bots, porn accounts, and not even real people.  And sure enough, going through his list of followers I’m seeing names like “PronDb”, “InstantBizHelp”, “QuitYourJob2Day”, and “PokerSSpace”.  Let’s just assume those are real people with real interest in him though.

Assuming all those followers are real, how many are actually listening to him?  How many of them are using “search for followers” services like Twollo and just followed him because they have it set to automatically follow anybody that says “Utah”?  Here’s my point: Twitter follower numbers mean nothing and I certainly hope someone doesn’t win a political campaign because they have more Twitter followers than their other opponents.  As I’ve said before, having a large following on Twitter only means you have to shout louder for everyone to hear.

Rather than focusing on followers, Mr. Shurtleff should instead be focusing on engaging each of his followers – building relationships with them.  Twitter’s a very difficult place to do that.  He could be setting up forums on Facebook where he actively participates and engages his audience in discussion.  He could be blogging, and interacting with his readers in the comments.  He could be responding, in short form on Twitter, while not as effective, to those responding to him on Twitter.  He could be over here, engaging with us in the comments of this blog and other Utah-based blogs.  Looking over his Tweet stream I see a lot of “talking at me”.  Instead he should be “talking with me” – this is a 2-way conversation Mr. Shurtleff, and the fact that you’re bragging about your Twitter followers as a political crutch against your opponents shows to me that you, possibly more than them, still don’t understand these tools.

Based on the way he’s using these tools, I would find it very hard to believe that even a majority of his audience is actually listening to Mark Shurtleff.  Post a link in your Twitter profile through – I think you’d be very surprised how many people of those 8,000 actually click on that link.  Now go over to your blog and post that same link.  I think you’ll see a much greater response.  Twitter has its purpose, but I’m afraid Mark Shurtleff seems clueless when it comes to Social Media.  Of course, it should be noted that his opponent only has 7 Tweets referencing himself in the third person with only 101 followers.  Maybe Utah politicians are just clueless – I’ll vote for that.

Editor’s Note: I neither endorse, nor am I against Mark Shurtleff. Heck, I may even vote for him – I post this only hoping to educate Utah politicians and others in whatever manner possible – this is embarrassing!

Utah Republican DM Fails His Candidacy Announcement

Mark ShurtleffToday (about 2 hours ago), Utah Attorney General, and rumored Senate Candidate Mark Shurtleff, in an apparent “DM Fail” with what would appear to be Political Consultant Ben Cannatti, accidentally announced his candidacy for Senate. Attorney General Shurtleff has been rumored to be running against the current seated Senator Bob Bennett in the upcoming election, making this no surprise, but a solid confirmation it would seem.

Shurtleff recently appeared in a recent Fox 13 News segment on Facebook boasting his use of Social Media and its potential advantage it could give him in the pending run for Senate. Shurtleff ironically stated on Twitter his realization in what he thought was an SMS to Cannatti, “…I just realized that I was responding to a text from u. I’m going to pull it off immediately”. Other interesting Tweets, “…it will also be against Bennett and I’ll pick up his delegates when he drops off the first ballot. I’m announcing I’m running at 12”. He also shared he “would have no trouble raising up to $2 million”. The original Tweets have been removed but you can read the 140 character version of them (which is cut off) via Twitter search still.

It also comes on the heels of other mishaps by other Republicans. Just recently, Virginia State Senator Jeff Frederick posted on Twitter, “Big News coming out of Senate: Apparently one Dem is either switching or leaving the Dem caucus. Negotiations for power sharing underway.” The Virginia Senate Democrats saw the post and were able to secure their majority by closing the session early and convincing the State Senator Ralph Northam not to switch sides. The Republican party is no stranger to such mishaps.

In response to today’s Twitter DM failure by Shurtleff, he humorously responded, stating in a Tweet, “Thinking of “texting while drowsy” law after private 1AM tweet went public. Formal announcement on 5/20 about senate race and tweeting plans”. It will certainly be a lesson learned for him as he tries to obtain Bennet’s Senate seat through use of Social Media. Mark Shurtleff, contact me if you ever need help!

You can see the full conversation via Twitter search below:

Mark Shurtleff DM Fail

This Utah Texan’s Voting for Obama

election_2008.pngI rarely pipe in with Political rants here because well, it’s a tech blog. However, with the change in the economy and lead-in to an election, politics seems to be the only thing people talk about these days. I’m going to make an exception today because I think, as an Independant, I’ve made a decision that is quite significant for me. For the first time, ever, I’m voting Democrat this election. Yes, “my friends”, I’m voting for Obama.

I grew up in a very Republican and conservative family. I have extended family that are very Democrat and liberal, but for the most part, my Mom, Dad, brothers and sisters all seemed pretty conservative growing up. I married a conservative, my brothers, father, father-in-law, and now sister are all accountants and for the most part, pretty fiscally conservative. I grew up in Houston, TX, and I currently live in Utah, 2 of the most Red states in the nation. So I’ve had conservatism all around me. I’ve always been a very “independant” person though. I hate the two-party system. To me, picking a candidate is about picking the best person for the job, not picking a person just because they belong to one party or the other. If I ever run for politics, then I’ll pick a party and pick where I stand on things. As a normal citizen, I get to be a learner, not pick sides, and choose the side that will be best for this nation. Why Obama? Let’s pick a few issues that have convinced me:


This was a big one for me. I used to work at UnitedHealth Group, and learned a lot about how large HealthCare companies work, and what the problems are that face this nation in regards to HealthCare technology.

What convinced me on Healthcare is in the last debate when Obama talked about “digitizing medical records in Doctors offices”. Obama, more than anyone else gets technology. His campaign has done an excellent job targeting people on Facebook, Twitter, via Youtube, and other means that McCain I imagine simply hasn’t touched. (Don’t get me started on McCain’s “disability” – if McCain really knew technology he’d know there are very good accessibility option on most Operating Systems these days. I know blind people better at computers than McCain.)

One of the largest and costliest issues facing our nation right now are old insurance companies and old doctors still using paper for most of their record-keeping. These papers at some point have to be converted to digital format, which in many cases leads to errors and costly mistakes. The large insurance companies are making money off of this, creating systems around leaving a flawed system in place. It’s wrong, and Obama understands this. Our economy will be better because of this. (and no, Obama isn’t doing “true” universal healthcare – he’s just keeping the stupid from costing us money by not having healthcare)


As a fiscally conservative individual, this was a big issue for me. Frankly, neither McCain nor Obama have good plans. The fact of the matter is, when Bush leaves office, our taxes are going to go up. Both Obama and McCain have ways to give back to the citizens, but economically speaking, they’re both the same. McCain gives back to everyone, keeping corporations from being taxed, and giving money back to the rich that may not need it as much.

Obama wants to do a weight-distribution of the money. He’ll tax corporations, which in turn will pass that cost onto the consumer. At the same time, the middle-to-low income consumer will have more money due to tax cuts and rebates given back to them. In the end, the rich still get paid because the consumers, now with more money, can spend money on their products. It’s simple economics – the wealth gets distributed either way. Both plans are near identical if you ask me so this isn’t a huge issue for either.


As an Independant, I’m against the death penalty. I could never, in any way, imagine myself in a position to be responsible for someone else’s life, and for that reason I could never directly vote for it or agree with it. For that same reason, I’m against Abortion, except in the cases of rape or incest. I would never allow my daughter to have an abortion, would not support my wife in such a decision, except in very rare circumstances.

At the same time, it doesn’t affect me one way or another if you or your friend or your sister or mom get an abortion. That’s your business, not mine. Economically speaking, in Freakonomics it actually suggests that it is better for the nation to allow abortion – there has actually been less crime since Roe v. Wade than before. Allowing choice, statistically, has had an indirect affect on the crime-rate of this country. Again, I’m not saying I support it – I’m just saying it’s not that big of an issue for me.

For this reason, I don’t buy those that say bringing in a Liberal to lead the nation could enable the Supreme court to be tipped liberally, forcing Roe v. Wade to be enforced. One way or another, it’s your choice – we all have the responsibility to make that choice. IMO, this nation is not affected adversely by allowing it. So regardless of Obama’s stance, this is just a non-issue for me.

Foreign Policy

McCain scares the living daylights out of me in regards to Foreign Policy. ‘Nuf said.


Obama’s “Change” theme has annoyed the heck out of me. However, I think I finally got it after this last debate. We are in a circumstance in this nation right now that is unprecedented. All of those running were not living the last time this happened. We simply don’t know how to solve it. Therefore, it requires an adaptive President to manage the situation. It takes someone who is willing to change and adapt with the circumstances. Obama showed that this last debate with some of his change in position. McCain is still doing the same things he always did. For this reason above all, I’m implementing “change” in my life and voting for Obama this election.

(Note, it’s not too late to convince me otherwise – if you think I’m wrong, and have solid reasons to back that up, I’m all ears! Again, I’m in this to learn!)