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How the U.S. Election Looks on the Internet

A ballot for the 2012 U.S. presidential election in a Los Angeles voting booth. Some states ban photography in polling places
A ballot for the 2012 U.S. presidential election in a Los Angeles voting booth. Some states ban photography in polling placesPhotograph by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Social media have arguably played an outsized role in shaping the course of the 2012 election cycle, from serving as a metric for the reach of a campaign’s message to transforming debate gaffes into full-blown memes. In terms of sheer participation, each political moment trumps the last online: With 10.3 million tweets, the Denver presidential debate was the most discussed event in American political history on Twitter, beating both the Democratic National Convention (9.5 million tweets over the week) and the Republican National Convention (4 million tweets over the week), according to Twitter.

Number of tweets sent during the presidential debate in Denver on Oct. 4 (click to enlarge)
Twitter