Twitter Spin: What Happens When Politics Goes Real-Time

Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

According to Twitter, the presidential debate in Colorado on Wednesday night generated a maelstrom of more than 10 million messages in less than two hours, making it the most tweeted-about event in U.S. political history, and one of the most tweeted-about events ever—close to the record set during the Super Bowl. Obviously Twitter is probably happy about that, and you could argue that those kinds of numbers show that large numbers of people were at least paying attention to the debate, for better or worse. But is the kind of instantaneous commentary and snap judgment that the social network specializes in a good fit with the political process, or does it just turn it into a sideshow?

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