Barack Obama’s DNC speech breaks Twitter record

7 Sep 2012

US President Barack Obama at the DNC 2012. Image via @BarackObama on Twitter

If US presidential elections were won on social media, Barack Obama would have it in the bag. The close of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) last night saw record-breaking tweets per minute with tens of thousands pouring in just after Obama’s acceptance speech.

Between the DNC and the Republican National Convention (RNC) held last week, yesterday was the biggest day on Twitter, with about 4m tweets sent about the event – almost equalling the total number sent throughout the entire RNC.

In all, more than 9.5m tweets were sent about the DNC, peaking at 52,756 tweets per minute following Obama’s speech – a new record for a political event. Many of these tweets quoted the man himself, with “I’m no longer just the candidate, I’m the President” being the most popular with 43,646 tweets.

A social election

Already the US 2012 presidential election is seeing far more Twitter activity than the previous one in 2008. In fact, the 2008 election day doesn’t even measure up to the last day of the DNC, with only 1.8m tweets sent globally about the election on that day.

The 2012 election will be followed closely online, with many social media services providing outlets for coverage. Twitter has created the Twitter Political Index, a daily measurement of Twitter user sentiment towards each candidate; YouTube launched the YouTube Elections Hub, a channel with live and on-demand coverage from the campaign trail; while Facebook has partnered with CNN to provide real-time election insights. This tool displays the number of people talking about the presidential and vice-presidential candidates on Facebook and generates charts and visualisations on this activity.

The Facebook-CNN partnership has also spawned an ‘I’m Voting’ app, which lets Facebook users let the world know that they’ll be exercising their right to vote when the big day comes on 6 November.

Meanwhile, the candidates themselves are making good use of social media, with Obama taking to Reddit for an ‘Ask Me Anything’ Q&A, while Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign is not only paying out for trending topics, it’s also (inadvertently) inspiring Twitter accounts.

And though Obama may be top dog as far as Twitter is concerned, the microblogging network has also revealed something concerning about the youth of America: they don’t even know their own president’s full name.


For shame.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic