It would be easy to call presidential debate No. 3 a social-media flop. Too easy. Its 8 million tweets and public Facebook posts look small in comparison to the previous two debates, but this conversation was very large compared to nearly everything else.
Just last month, the 2.5 million tweets and posts sparked by the Democratic National Convention made headlines. Today, it’s a blip. That’s how quickly the social conversation about politics is growing. Collectively, the debates have been a landmark in that growth. Key Facts:
• Making the Lists: The final debate was the third most commented-on political telecast ever, behind the other two debates, and the seventh most commented-on telecast of any kind (more stats from Bluefin Labs here).
• Policy Over Sports: This debate was competing for viewers with two major sports events, Monday Night Football and Game 7 of baseball’s National League playoffs. Though sports is a magnet for social comments, the two sports conversations were miniscule in comparison to the debate. The election face-off accounted for 79% percent of all social commentary about the evening’s primetime TV. A foreign-policy debate over sports? Further confirmation of social media’s wonkish tendencies.
• Seriously: Like the previous debates, this one was mostly about serious policy matters, and the social response appeared to mirror this. Even the viral phrases were weightier. After Big Bird and binders full of women, #horsesandbayonets is positively brainy. For the exact breakdown of how politics, policy and personality fared in the debate response, watch for our Three P’s update.
• More Romney Mentions: In all three debates, Romney was mentioned more often that Obama. This does not imply that he won over more viewers. Social mentions can go either way.
• Women: In all three debates, a majority of the comments came from females. This was unexpected, given that males dominated the social response to the earlier GOP primary debates and the Republican National Convention. With women widely viewed as the deciding factor in this election, it’s significant that they’re now tuning in and speaking up more than men, if only marginally.