Caitlin Thompson, Executive Editor
Caitlin Thompson is WNYC.org's executive editor.
At the Republican National Convention last week in Tampa, we saw a new phase in the maturation of social media - with organizations such as Twitter and Facebook starting to shift from hosting to participating in the political conversation. With their release of the The Twitter Political Index, the company is tracking the amount and sentiment of tweets sent about each of the candidates.
If the GOP made bold strides in volume and enthusiasm on social media last week, the Democrats are so far soaring past the benchmarks. At the end of Tuesday night, the opening night of the DNC, people posted "more than 3 million Tweets, including #DNC2012 and related terms. In comparison, there were 4 million Tweets sent throughout the three days of last week’s Republican National Convention (#RNC2012)."
It should be said, of course, that the makeup of the Twitter audience skews younger and more diverse than the general population, giving the Democratic Party a messaging advantage. Still, there was no denying that the slew of democratic speeches had generally more quotable moments.
During the primetime lineup of speakers Tuesday night, Twittter and our live chat was buzzing about a fiery speech by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and a keynote speech by San Antonio Texas Mayor Julian Castro, which averaged a Tweet Per Minute (TPM) rate 11,503, according to @gov, the Twitter politics team.
Booker's line about inequality - "When your country is at war being asked to pay your fair share is not class warfare. It's patriotism." - richocheted about Twitter instantaneously, mirroring the feeling of a room that was engulfed in chants of "Cory, Cory."
But the surprise of the evening might have been Lilly Ledbetter, who was an unepected smash in our live chat and on Twitter. The Alabama native gave a rousing - and moving- speech about having her name attached to the Fair Pay Act, which was the first act President Obama signed into law.
The crowd in the room and the social media sphere was totally charmed by her thick southern accent, her strands of pearls, and perhaps the most biting line of the evening.
After citing the fact women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, Ledbetter had Twitter abuzz with the line: “Maybe 23 cents doesn’t’ sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account and a Cayman Island investment.” According to @gov, Lilly Ledbetter had the highest peak of any speaker at either convention NOT in the 10pm hour. Commentary across platforms christened her the "new Ann Richards," after the formidable former governor of Texas.
And the star of the evening, First Lady Michelle Obama, beat Mitt Romney's acceptance speech last week almost two-to-one in terms of Tweet volumen, with a 28,003 tweets-per-minute vs. 14,289 for Romney.