DNC Beating RNC… In Social Media Mentions!

Posted by & filed under 2012 Election, Democratic Convention, Swing Voters


It may not be a surprise that the Democratic National Convention keynote speeches generated more social media mentions than their RNC counterparts (those young, idealistic, liberal whippersnappers!), but this many more?

First on Tuesday, Twitter itself reported that Michelle Obama’s speech had roundly trounced Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech in “Twitter mentions:”

Although it’s just the first night at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, people have already posted more than 3 million Tweets, including #DNC2012 and related terms. In comparison, there were 4 million Tweets sent throughout the three days of last week’s Republican National Convention (#RNC2012).

Among tonight’s keynotes, First Lady Michelle Obama’s (@MichelleObama) primetime speech peaked at 28,003 Tweets per minute (TPM) at its conclusion — nearly double Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s (@MittRomney) 14,289 peak. One line in her speech this evening — “we’ve got so much more to do” — saw 22,004 TPM.

Then on Wednesday night, President Clinton delivered a much ballyhooed nomination speech of President Obama. During the speech, Americans posting status updates on Facebook apparently changed their channels away from our sacred “real national pastime” of the NFL’s 2012 kickoff game to Clinton’s speech. According to CNN:

President Clinton took the ball and ran with it last night, and Facebook has the numbers to prove it… Even though the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants in last night’s NFL season opener, it was the former president who garnered the most attention on Facebook. According to data provided to CNN from Facebook, Bill Clinton got more mentions on the site than the terms “Cowboys,” “Giants,” “football,” and “Romo,” the Cowboy’s starting quarterback.

Finally, last night’s nomination acceptance speech by President Obama was a Twitter record breaker. TheVerge.com reported:

During the President’s speech, the service saw about 52,000 tweets per minute, far beating Mitt Romney’s previous record of just over 14,000 tweets per minute. In fact, both former President Clinton and the First Lady beat Romney’s numbers, with Clinton seeing just over 22,000 per minute and Michelle Obama with over 28,000 per minute.

Highlights of the President’s speech from Twitter’s perspective included 43,646 tweets per minute for the quote, “I’m no longer just the candidate, I’m the President,” and between 38 and 39,000 when talking about Medicare. Overall, the Democratic National Convention saw a total of around 9.5 million tweets (compared to four million for the RNC). Following on the heels of Romney’s purchase of a sponsored topic on the night of his acceptance speech, Obama for America also purchased its own promoted hashtag, this time #Forward2012, to promote tweets to users.

So does any of this ultimately matter come election day, or are we simply playing around with what the tech people like to call ‘vanity metrics’? Here’s two pieces to the political social media puzzle:

1. Undecided voters spend more time on Facebook. According to survey data by CivicScience:

Unlike other “new” technology, Undecideds are 10% more likely to belong to Facebook and 36% more likely to spend more than five hours per week on the site. At the far end of the spectrum, Undecideds are 75% more likely to spend more than 25 hours per week on Facebook.

2. Is Tweets Per Minute actually a useful metric? The jury’s out on this one, TPM has unfavorably compared tweets to lawn signs in the past:

Lawn signs, meet your digital replacement: Twitter… “The old mantra is that lawn signs can’t vote,” Matt Canter, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told TPM. “The same applies to hashtags.”

Ultimately, it can’t be a bad thing for Democrats that they received more buzz on social media than Republicans during their convention, but considering demographic statistics for usage of social media sites, it’s no wonder Dems had the advantage this week. As PEW has reported, Liberals are more likely to use social media like Facebook and Twitter than their Conservative counterparts. 74% of internet-using liberals use social networking sites, versus only 60% of Conservatives. We’ll see once election day passes who really has the advantage, but for now — one arbitrary Twitter/Facebook advantage point for the Democrats!



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