#USelections2012: The convention bounce

This Week: Democratic convention breaks Twitter records; Obama gets bear hug; Republicans prepare for debates.

September 11, 2012 14:08
2 minute read.
Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Democratic National Convention in Charlotte 390. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)


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With polls setting US President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney neck-and-neck, the Democrats had a tough task ahead of them at their convention at Charlotte: convincing swing voters that the country was on the right track, and that Romney would set it off course.

If social media was the measure, then the Democrats seemed to have achieved their goal.

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In the convention’s opening night, First Lady Michelle Obama gave an emotional speech that appealed to the human side of life in the White House, while taking implicit swipes at Romney. Twitter traffic about Mrs. Obama was about double what Mitt Romney achieved in his convention speech, peaking at 28,000 tweets per minute, and over four times the Tweets of Ann Romney’s speech.

Not even former US president Bill Clinton, who wowed audiences and pundits with his policy-heavy speech at the convention’s second night, reached that level (he peaked at 22,000).

But Obama himself blew them all out of the water. The social media site saw over 52,000 tweets per minute just as his speech ended, not only topping every other speaker during the convention season, but topping every speaker period. According to Twitter, the volume set a new record for political events.

While the ability to generate buzz is important, the content of the buzz is equally important. Obama’s speech got flat reviews, with pundits saying he failed to achieve the rhetorical prowess of his past speeches, or even the speakers of previous nights.

Tweets of the Week:

Still, the US president’s ability to get his message out to voters will be his trump card as election day draws near. Already, Obama is enjoying a post-convention poll bounce and, for the first time in several months, he out-raised Mitt Romney. Obama even got a local business owner so excited that the man felt compelled to give him a giant bear hug:

Viral Video of the Week:

On the other hand, conventions are relatively easy: The party controls everything, scripting the videos, the speakers and even signs in the crowd down to a tee. The real meat of will come out in the upcoming debates, when the opponents will finally meet face-to-face and see whose message holds up best to the other’s attacks before a national audience.

#USelections2012 offers weekly insight into the US presidential election through a social media lens, tracking candidates as they try to reach 270 electoral votes in 140 characters or less.

The writer is a Breaking News editor and blogger at The Jerusalem Post. Read his blog ‘The Bottom Line’ here.

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