Did the first GOP debate rule social media? When a major television event is broadcast, like the first #GOPDebate this August, I like to follow top tweets/all tweets on Twitter to check out how it jives with what you hear and see – and how people react. It’s the greatest Wild West focus group going when it comes to live responses.
Here are some quick Twitter observations during the course of the first GOP Debate event:
Bernie Sanders had one of the top promoted posts of the night – asking his followers @BernieSanders to continue talking to him with the hashtag #DebateWithBernie. That kept his profile and conversation going throughout. And he scored decent numbers.
Carly Fiorina, who didn’t make the big show because her standings weren’t strong enough from five national polls that organizers used to make the magic pick of 10 candidates, used her promoted posts to ask for $3 contributions Obama style. Many voted that she won “The Happy Hour Debate” that came before the evening broadcast of 10.
Hillary Clinton didn’t set such a small amount in her promoted posts for potential donors leaving it an unlimited choice, but she made a GOP dig: “Bet you feel like donating to a Democrat right about now.”
The promoted post loser of the night seemed to be political pundit Karl Rove, who used his ad budget to get people to sign up for his newsletter. Not much action there during the first #GOPDebate.
The video Facebook Qs apparently didn’t get used much as the three media moderators dug in with their own tough questions, but a few late questions did finally sneak in toward the end of the debate that had been notably missing – questions about veterans and questions about the nation’s racial divide.
Attempts to get people to pay attention to their local media outlets and live commentary didn’t work much – just based on the RTs and favorites alone. A few tried using Periscope to drive some numbers as well and compete for attention in the tech corner.
At 9:36 p.m., @realDonaldTrump (yes, the real Donald’s Twitter handle), had 3.4 million followers. The next morning on Friday, his following had increased to 3.51 million.
At the end of it all, moderator Megyn Kelly commented: “It’s over. They look relieved.”
As per usual, People magazine reported the best celebrity tweets of the night. The HuffPost hit on how Sanders hijacked the broadcast debate with his own Twitter debate. National media outlets, including the L.A. Times, reported that Donald Trump attracted the most attention on Twitter as well as Facebook.
The Google search war, according to The Washington Post, was won by Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
And the tweeples, who had burned up the stream, were probably also a little worn out – as they moved onto #JonVoyage for Jon Stewart’s final Comedy Central show the same night.
Fox’s GOP debate, the first one of the season, was watched by 24 million viewers, according to Nielsen data, making it the highest-rated primary debate in television history.