Twitter is emerging as the preferred facilitator of online conversations through which Americans can immediately react to, digest, and in most cases, ridicule, the presidential debates.
The October 3 debate saw a record number of tweets, 10.3 million, for a political event, and Twitter has put together an inforgraphic showing just what comments sparked the most twitter activity:
As this graph shows, it was Lehrer’s quip “let’s not” in reaction to Romney suggesting more conversation, followed by Obama’s statement about the amount of time remaining for his answer, where tweeters were most active.
Millenials, in particular, are using twitter to engage with the political conversation. MTV Insights addresses how this medium is facilitating engagement with younger Americans:
Twitter provided an outlet for users to share their reactions to the debate instantly, while also checking out the reactions of their friends, comedians, political analysts and experts, and even major celebrities, all of whom live-tweeted the event. People could either publish their own thoughts or instead re-tweet statements that they find humorous or intelligent as a way to convey their opinions without getting too personally involved in the conversation.
Twitter fulfills Americans’ desire to take part in the debate, while preserving the personal relationships that could be damaged by expressing just exactly how little you think of that last comment by the other guy. In contrast with facebook, where you tend to know most of your “friends,” twitter allows an anonymous community of mostly likeminded people to affirm each other and share in the excitement and ridicule.