Cable Technology Feature Article
Democratic National Convention Viewership Figures Up Thanks to Social Media, First Lady Push
By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer
The power of social media is a hard one to deny, especially when it keeps bringing up proofs of itself like the impact of a recent speech made by First Lady Michelle Obama during the Democratic National Convention. The speech was widely regarded as emotional, powerful, and from the look of the reaction on Twitter (News - Alert), the kind of thing that fueled engagement.
Not only did Michelle Obama's speech seem to push up the viewership numbers--those showing up for Michelle Obama's speech, based on preliminary figures, was a number about 1.5 million viewers higher than those who did likewise for the potential next First Lady Ann Romney--but it also quickly caught fire on Twitter, generating about 28,000 tweets per minute by the conclusion of the speech. It had even prompted some Twitter users to wonder if Michelle Obama might not stage her own run on the White House before too much longer had passed.
Individual reaction, meanwhile, seemed heavily positive, with comedian Chris Rock responding in a fashion that suggested he was both stunned and ready to vote Obama--either one, really--and others suggesting that her speech should have been compared against presidential speeches, not merely First Lady speeches, in terms of overall quality and impact.
Even Barack Obama's numbers took a jump by virtue of his wife's speech, as his Twindex score--a measure of how Twitter users feel about, in this case, a political figure--went to fully 54 following his wife's speech, up from just 25 before the speech began.
It's hard to dispute, especially after seeing numbers like those, that social media has a lot of power in terms of its range, its influence, and its comparative ease of access. Getting those kinds of numbers from, say, an ad campaign might take months and millions of dollars to replicate, but those were instead gained from one speech, lasting minutes, and a whole lot of people able to talk to each other via the power of social media.
Naturally, the value of the speech will be a subjective matter, but it's impossible to argue with those numbers. Numbers are their own proof, and go a very long way indeed toward establishing concepts like those of the power of social media. The full impact, however, of the social media push remains to be seen on the Obama campaign as a whole, not to mention on other industries, but in this case it's clear that social media use did drive at least some viewership numbers, and for media, that's a point worth considering further.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey