I’m a political junkie. I have been fascinated by politics and government for many years a passion which eventually led to a now underused degree in political science.
In the past week or so, these two vices have collided in a spectacular way. It started with the Democratic primary in South Carolina last Saturday. A few of us social media/political junkies (@stuartma, @JillFoster, et al) began discussing the results as they came in. Those of us purists with online-only access to CNN’s raw feeds (TV is so 1.0) had to rely on others to report the numbers as they came in. We could then offer our thoughts on the how’s and why’s… Or just "listen" and learn.
Once the results were solid and the networks had made their projections, the speeches from each of the candidates began. This was the magical part of evening. Barack Obama’s speech elicited responses from my Twitterverse that were raw emotion and reflected his ability to reach down into people’s soul and stir it up.
That this communal emotional response was palpable in an online medium is, I believe, revolutionary. To the casual observer, Obama’s speech was a great one, to be sure. But the ability to witness the emotions it evoked in others in real-time transformed the speech from a political event into an emotional event shared by a community of pseudo-strangers. This has never really been possible before.
Last night I observed a similar event during the Super Bowl. Since I’m more of a CFL guy than NFL, I wasn’t watching the game. I was, however, watching a couple dozen folks twitter the game as they watched it. Thank to Jeremiah Owyang‘s social media experiment, most of the Twitter-banter centred on rating the (in)famous SuperBowl commercials as they aired. The results of Jeremiah’s experiment can be found by searching for @superbowlads at terramind’s search service. Currently, it lists over 2500 responses. hundreds of people sharing an event in real-time through an online medium. Very Cool. [late-breaking re-cap from Jeremiah]
In between commercials, there was, of course, a football game going on. While I was doing other things online (watching this stunning video, for example), I could get a feel of how the game was going just from the expletive-laced bursts of emotion emanating from my Twitter client.
I am very much looking forward to that other ‘Super’ event this week: Super Tuesday. I will miss the bulk of the day’s conversations since I’ll be in meetings and without internet access all day (though I may sneak a peek at TwitterBerry now & again).
As the polls close, however, I’ll be ensconced in my hotel room all a-Twitter about what the results will mean… even for us Canadians. My prediction? I think by wednesday morning (it’ll come early!) we’ll have a pretty good idea of the two names on the Presidential ballot come November.
I have some more thoughts brewing about the social-scalability of Twitter. Tonight may have been proof that we’ve finally seen the end of the technical scalability problems! I’ll post later in the week on what I mean by "social-scalability" and why I think it’s a problem. Stay tuned.Pin It