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Pence’s State Of State Address Hits The Social Media

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January 14, 2015 — TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — If the live feed of the governor’s State of the State address was too dry to swallow, viewers had a fiery alternative in the live tweets offered by a handful of Hoosiers.

The Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus and House Republican Caucus relinquished hold of their twitter reigns and allowed a few choice tweeters to give their two cents about Gov. Pence’s speech – all using #INSOTS.

Some special tweeters included Republican sass masters Miriam Weaver and Amy Jo Clark – who host the radio show Chicks on the Right – and notorious former Indy Star tweeter Mary Beth Schneider.

When asked why they were specifically chosen, the Chicks on the Right said it was because of their “strong social media following.”

“We are unique in that we aren’t straight news reporters. We aren’t pundits,” they said. “We’re just real women who have built a community of like-minded, conservative constituents who are involved politically and have responded well to our voice.”

Schneider has covered the State of the State address for the past 23 years and claims she has “never gotten to do it like this” – until now.

The Democrats also used a clever slogan #TwitterTakeover to make their points heard.

Indiana University student Gabrielle McLemore, entrepreneur Jamar Cobb-Dennard and teacher Marc Williams all tweeted their thoughts during Pence’s speech. Some were critical.

“Managed our affairs, like leaving thousands without health insurance?!”  Cobb-Dennard tweeted during the speech.

Dennard said he believes that the live tweeting might help those who aren’t necessarily political to feel included in the event.

“I think we spurred a lot of conversation on Twitter. While we were making comments we were looking back at how many people were commenting, and retweeting and sharing what was coming out of the Senate Democrats twitter feed,” Cobb-Dennard said. “I think it went well.”

Williams said that he personally watches the State of the State every year. However, he doesn’t think that many other people are actually watching or commenting on it because its not typically something people make an event of.

“I think it went great, there was a lot of engagement with the content that I don’t think would necessarily have been there if you do it a different way,” Williams said, “Then on top of that, its just an opportunity for people to feel more connected to the speeches and know that there are people having conversations about it.”

Many of Williams’ tweets focused on education: “It takes more than just paying teachers more money to ensure quality education.”

McLemore said that she was interested in the live tweeting because most of her followers are college and high school students who are not very interested in politics. She focused on problems the state needs to solve.

“Why not put that money into improving public schools instead of opening alt schools? ,” she tweeted.

“Most of my followers wouldn’t have been watching this or even known that it was going on,” she said later. The tweets help people “see what the big problems are in our state and the things that we’re hoping to improve on.”

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