Big Winner in Debate: Twitter

Debate was most-tweeted US political event ever
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 4, 2012 9:51 AM CDT
This Aug. 30, 2009 file photo shows Big Bird, of the children's television show 'Sesame Street.'   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

(Newser) Last night's debate was the most-tweeted US political event in history, Computerworld reports, with viewers offering some brilliant—and not so brilliant—analysis of the contest as it unfolded. Twitter and other social media gave viewers the chance to skip the pundits' take and jump right into the post-debate analysis themselves, the New York Times notes. Mitt Romney's willingness to defund Big Bird, Romney's energy, and Obama's lack thereof all prompted flurries of tweets.

Tweets per minute, Politico notes in a chart, peaked with Jim Lehrer's suggestion to Romney regarding further discussion of a point: "Let's not." But when there's so much activity in the Twitterverse, it becomes a "relentless gush of information that can outgrow its usefulness by being too overwhelming to consume," writes Patrick Gavin at Politico. Still, a few highlights (and lowlights):

  • Kitchen Aid managed to squeeze in a less-than-tasteful joke about Obama's dead grandmother, Gawker notes. Following her mention onstage, the company tweeted: "Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president." The company quickly apologized.
  • Scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson defended Big Bird and Co. in 140 or less: "Cutting PBS support (0.012% of the budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive."
  • Big Bird got several Twitter accounts of his own, ABC News reports, offering trenchant commentary: "Under Mitt #Romney, Cookie Monster won’t receive the care he needs to overcome his addiction," noted @BigBirdRomney. "I guess I’m the 47%…" wrote @BigBird. Some 16,000 people were following @FiredBigBird an hour after the debate ended.
Click for a look at who might have been stretching the truth last night. (Read more Twitter stories.)

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