YouTube, social media play new role in presidential debate

Campaigns are gearing up to shape social media reactions in real time
October 3, 2012

The Internet will play an expanded role in tonight’s presidential debate.

YouTube has teamed up with ABC News and Yahoo News to stream the debate.

And as a sign of just how pervasive and crucial social media has become, in some states elected officials are only one degree of “friend” separation from nearly every Facebook account holder in that state, says JD Schlough, a Democratic political strategist,¬†Technology Review¬†reports. And by one analyst firm’s count, Twitter has 140 million U.S. users, more than 30 million of whom joined in 2012 alone.

According to figures from Nielsen, BarackObama.com had 6.4 million unique visitors in August 2012, reaching 2.9 percent of Americans who were online that month. MittRomney.com had 3.3 million unique visitors during that time, about 1.5 percent of the American population online. On mobile, the figures were similar.