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 …and the 2016 Presidential Debate

Everything was all a “twitter” last Monday night both during the first Presidential debate and throughout the night. According to Mic.com, Twitter analysts stated that the debate was the most tweeted political event in history, generating some 10.3 million tweets. Another account, by CBS San Francisco, suggests that there were 17 million Twitter reactions accounting for 2.7 million interactions. Either way, that’s a lot of folks tuning into the debate via social media. One news outlet even showed a man in Guadalajara, Mexico viewing the debate on Twitter.

The first of three Presidential debates thus far was the most watched in U.S. history. In fact, Nielsen cited that there were “…a total of 84 million viewers across 13 of the TV channels that carried it live,” as reported by money.cnn.com. The only other Presidential debate that comes close was in 1980, between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. A record 80.6 million viewers were known to have tuned in as related by CBS San Francisco. Of course, Twitter was not even a pipe dream back then.

So, who won the debate? Well, it you follow the Twitter world; you would have concluded that Trump had, due to the Twitter data collected. However, those in the media debunked the Twitter polls saying that they were not scientific. This reaction is typical of many on the liberal side of things such as the media, as they wanted to make it clear that they thought Hillary Clinton had won.

So, what does this tell us? The answer is two-fold. The media does not hold the power they think they do in controlling outcomes, although they’ll never stop trying. And second, that Millennials, a big segment of the voter base, is tuning in more closely than previously thought, via social media, especially Twitter. Perhaps it is because they recognize, as does Donald Trump, that there is more at stake than a mere election – there is the matter of preserving the country. Trump, an expert Twitterite, makes great use of this medium with his “Make America Great Again” slogans, which may have contributed to his winning in the Twitter polls.

No matter who wins the debates, it is clear that Twitter has become a major player in the social media world, and for that matter, the political world.  It will be interesting to watch the next two debates and the Twitter results. Keep calm and get your Twitter on!