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October 18, 2012

Social TV Debates


The 2012 Presidential Debates have caused quite a stir in the Social TV space this past month. According to Bluefin Labs’ data, the second Presidential debate generated 12.24 million social media comments – 11.7M tweets and 572K public Facebook posts. This makes it the 3rd most social TV event of all time, across all programming genres, topping even the Super Bowl (12.20 million comments)! This number also only accounts for PUBLIC Facebook posts, so on top of the 572k public posts generated, there could be thousands more we’re not even aware of.

So what does this mean for Social TV and the 2012 Election? Could social TV buzz potentially equate to more people voting? If the Bluefin data tells us anything, it shows us that with each debate the number of social TV comments increase which could ultimately mean that people are getting more involved as we get closer to the election.

As of now there is no way for us to measure the true volume of conversation because of the lack of private Facebook data. This is a huge problem for tracking and evaluating social TV buzz overall. (Sidenote – Kay Madati briefly mentioned in yesterday’s Ad Age Social TV conference that Facebook is “working towards” a solution to providing social TV data for Q1 in 2013. We won’t hold our breath.)

Another issue is that ultimately, we can’t directly correlate whether or not this uptick in chatter will drive more people to the polls. But there is still valuable info we can gleen from the data we do have. The conversations happening are definitely helping to influence voters decisions as well actions that the candidates take.

We know from top trends on Twitter that Mitt Romney might have to work a little harder to get the women’s vote based on his “Binders Full Of Women” comment. This comment, and seeing how the general public responded to it may even help sway a few on the fence voters as well.

We were also able to see how the comments made about cutting PBS from the first debate started a viral trend. Mitt Romney wanted to get rid of one of the most beloved television figures of the 20th century (AKA BIG BIRD!) and the people were NOT having it! Obama’s team tried to leverage this trend and general negative sentiment by creating an ad cementing Romney’s hate for Americana but ultimately the strategy backfired for team Obama when PBS publicly stated they wanted no part of either party’s mudslinging. It’s Sesame Street guys! Love one love all!

Based on these two debates it’s apparent now that Social TV is not just a forum for viewers to rant their personal agendas into a big black hole. We are clearly being heard and it’s exciting to see that we as a people actually CAN have an effect on the outcome of our next presidency. This outcome is based on not only our personal agendas but also our memes, Tumblrs, Tweets and general sentiment during these debates.  In the end, the conversation and content being generated by users is definitely helping to shift the tone of the election trail.

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Social Media, social tv, television

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