Although it is commonly viewed that Big Bird was the big loser in last night’s Presidential Debate, Twitter was once again proven to be a powerful force in social networking and news delivery and reactions. Twitter launched a dedicated page for the debate, and YouTube had a dedicated channel for the debates and political coverage of the election. The twitter record for a political event was set, with 10.3 million tweets during the 90 minute debate.

Twitter summarized their comments on the debate:

“As conversation on the Denver stage and on Twitter ranged from Medicare to Big Bird, there were more than 10 million Tweets this evening, making this first of the 2012 presidential debates the most tweeted-about event in U.S. politics. The specific moments that generated the most discussion on Twitter were:

-Moderator Jim Lehrer quips “Let’s not” when Governor Romney requests a topic
-President Obama quips “I had 5 seconds” when Lehrer gives time limit
-The discussion about Medicare and vouchers”

The chart below plots the pulse of conversation throughout the debate:

What we saw was very similar. Below are graphs gathered from data from a single provider on how Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix reacted to the debates. The debates were popular enough to have people switch off Netflix and watch, whether that was live or through streaming. They also interacted extensively with Facebook and Twitter, as shown by the broadband activity, peaking at key times during the debate, as well as after the debates for people to put forth their opinions. All of the “social” outlets spiked during the event, and Netflix dipped during the event, and then spiked after as people decided that they needed some entertainment after the seriousness of the debate.





This is a very “social” election, and broadband is more important than ever in consumer’s routine. Consumers crave good broadband connections, with high Quality of Experience and capable of delivering streaming media and social networking to their devices.

We will watch to see if the follow-up debates have the same kind of impact on network activity. I would not expect as avid of an audience, but if the election tightens up as a result of this debate, all bets are off.