Kathleen Madigan — So far, this is as exciting as lunesta. Which I love. #mockthevote
Mo Mandel — This is the worst SNL skit of all time. #debates
Are You Italian? — The debates in my house are much louder. #2012debate
Kristi Harrison — I have to admit they’re both pretty handsome. I’m waiting for the swimsuit competition to decide. #debates
Social media enhances regular events, turning average happenings into a word-filled, heap of insta-filtered goodness. It is an instant method of communication turning traditional news sources into a thing of the past. Why read a paper when you can scroll down a Twitter timeline, reading linked articles from credible news sources or passionate tweets from other overly opinionated tweeters?
This sparks the inevitable question: on which screen did most watch last Tuesday’s debate on—television or Twitter?
2012 is the second presidential election of the social media age. In fact, 7.2 million tweets were posted during the 90-minute debate last Tuesday. CNN reports that 65.6 million people were watching via television. Hypothetically, if the tweets were only posted from those watching, each individual would have to post once every ten minutes.
Social media has become a primary source of news for many.
Natalie Stezovsky, Director of Partnerships at Digital Talent Agents, explained the influence social media has on today’s users.
“The biggest impact social media has is the influence of friends opinions and the share ability factor. Today, people are relying heavily on word of mouth, more so than what the actual product or service messaging is,” she said.
Reading posts from followed parties makes it easy to filter news sources and even opinions, a practice similar to choosing to watch Fox or MSNBC.
Brittny Goran, social media intern at Veterans United Homeloans and senior Marketing: Public Relations and Advertising major at Stephens, pointed out a serious flaw in this logic.
“Twitter is now a major news source. If you follow a major news source and they tweet, that’s the news you get. There are only 140 characters to say everything, which will obviously exclude important details,” she explained.
Goran only uses Twitter for professional purposes, tweeting articles from marketing sites like Mashable and Forbes. Her greatest advice to her peers is that an opinion is only as valid as the sources backing it.
Sophomore Fashion Marketing and Management major Lani Klosterman enjoys Twitter and Facebook for personal reasons but tries to stay away from political posts. Her primary use of social media is to follow celebrities, keep up with friends and family and customize it the way she wants.
“I feel like Twitter is turning into an obnoxious source of news. People change facts,” Klosterman said.
Regardless of her disdain for politics during her leisure time, Klosterman does acknowledge that it makes a difference seeing both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney tweeting, saying that many probably find that it makes an impact to supporters.
When asked about how she felt reading her Twitter feed during Tuesday’s debate, she laughed and explained that if someone is going to tweet support for a candidate, they should spell-check before posting.
“To me, it doesn’t make Obama look good when all the tweets on my timeline are misspelled, and likewise for Mitt. It really only strengthens my beliefs in the direction they already are,” Klosterman said.