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November 07, 2012

Obama Makes Social Media History on Election Night, Twitter Sets New Record

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Not only did Barack Obama make history Tuesday by getting reelected as U.S. president, his post-election tweet, “Four more years” has become the most popular retweet ever in the history of Twitter (News - Alert).

Shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday (ET), the Twitter message from the President had been retweeted 626,128 times and was marked as a favorite 211,846 times. The numbers continued to build as Wednesday progressed. The popularity of the tweet was amazing as 22 minutes after being posted, the "Four more years" tweet received 226,249 retweets, which set a record. The tweet included a photo of Obama embracing his wife, Michelle, against a backdrop of an open sky. And in 45 minutes, the tweet saw 303,795 retweets, according to Business Insider.

Obama sent a few tweets after the election. The famous one read, “Four more years.” Another read, “We're all in this together. That's how we campaigned, and that's who we are. Thank you. –bo.” And a third read, “This happened because of you. Thank you.” The old record for tweets came from teen-age singer Justin Bieber, who had some 224,000 retweets.

Overall, Twitter saw 31 million tweets on Election Day 2012, a record for the micro-blogging site when it comes to U.S. politics. “As the results of the election were called by news organizations [at 11:19 p.m.ET], the conversation on Twitter surged, hitting a peak of 327,452 tweets per minute (TPM),” Twitter said in a blog post.

Image viaTwitter

Other key times on Twitter during the night were:

* 11:12pm ET, when the Iowa presidential race was called: 85,273 TPM

* 9:33pm ET, when the Pennsylvania and Wisconsin presidential races were called: 69,031 TPM

* 8:03pm ET, when polls closed in several states and races were called: 65,106 TPM

Twitter was able to handle the volume well. “It was Twitter’s watershed moment, performing as it should during the most tweeted-about political moments in the service’s six-year history,” said All Things D.

Also, Election Night was "the most tweeted about event in U.S. political history," Twitter spokeswoman Rachael Horwitz told Reuters. 

Just between 6 p.m. and midnight ET there were over 23 million tweets via the service. The old record was during the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, with some 10 million tweets.

"Twitter brought people closer to almost every aspect of the election this year," Horwitz told Reuters (News - Alert). "From breaking news, to sharing the experience of watching the debates, to interacting directly with the candidates, Twitter became a kind of nationwide caucus."

Obama was not the only world leader sending tweets on Tuesday. British Prime Minister David Cameron sent his own which said, “Warm congratulations to my friend @BarackObama. Look forward to continuing to work together.”

It was also reported that Google (News - Alert) searches made during Election Day, suggested the electorate was “anxious,” Today’s THV reported. Top search terms included: "election results," "exit polls," "election news," and "who's winning the election."

Similarly, on Facebook (News - Alert) the top terms on Tuesday morning and afternoon were:  "vote," "voted," and "go vote."

Once the news networks started reporting projections, "Obama wins" found itself in top place on Facebook and Google.

Overall, Mitt Romney had 1.7 million Twitter followers during his campaign, while Obama had over 22 million followers. As of 1 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Romney conceded the election to Obama.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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