Twitter has recently repositioned itself as a news platform instead of a social platform – and the first presidential debate of 2016 made for the perfect opportunity for Twitter to showcase the power of its connected audience during newsworthy moments.
In fact, according to Twitter COO Adam Bain at the IAB Mixx event in New York, the September 26 debate was “tremendous for us,” and it was perhaps not surprisingly the most tweeted debate ever.
“If you think about the product overall, our goal is simple: Come for the live video, stay for the conversation,” Bain said of the platform’s newfound focus on livestreaming.
And after two weeks of Thursday Night Football livestreams that have seen an average of 2.35 million viewers, Bain said Twitter’s audience is not just connected to devices, but to each other – and this was on display during three key debate moments that Bain said “sealed it for me.”
The first was when Trump used the word “braggadocious,” which means “boastful or arrogant,” and Merriam-Webster tweeted, “He was trying for braggadocio.”
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) September 27, 2016
The second “incredible” debate moment was when Clinton said Trump had called global warming a fraud perpetrated by China to induce trade – a claim Trump subsequently denied ever making. “And the connected audience found the tweet from 2012 that said that exact thing,” Bain said. “In real time, the connected audience is fact-checking -- and [the best part was] the fact that it came from Twitter.”
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
And the third and final moment was around Trump’s sniffing – and the connected audience was quick to take advantage, Bain said. Accounts like @TrumpSniff and @TrumpSniffing have since popped up -- with the former gaining nearly 3600 followers – along with video compilations of Trump’s sniffs and former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean questioning whether Trump’s sniffing was the result of past drug use.
“This concept around the connected audience is amazing,” Bain said. “Seeing the moment live was kind of like being in an audience like this…[like being] in a bar last night, watching. There’s a community feeling that exists in real life.”