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Presidential Debate's Impact On Social Media

October 4, 2012, 5:01 PM by Brady Mallory

Presidential Debate's Impact On Social Media
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Seven years ago, you could only find Facebook in dorm rooms.

"Now my Grandma has it," Mary Abbott said.

Some thought the site was a fad and just a way for college students to pass the time or maybe more accurately summed up, a way to waste time. 

Today it helps millions including Abbott keep in touch with friends and family.  It also makes her job as Sales Account Manager at 605 Magazine a lot easier because she reaches more clients. 

Now, Facebook has reached one billion users.

"I don't think it'll go away. I think it might morph even further," Abbott said.

Facebook along with Twitter are making a big impact on politics.  According to the LA Times, President Barrack Obama going head to head with Republican challenger Mitt Romney was the most talked about political event ever on these social media sites.  Facebook and Twitter lit up during the presidential debate with millions of people posting or tweeting about moments like when Romney said he'd cut public funding for the Public Broadcasting Station.

"I'm sorry Jim. I'm gonna stop the subsidy to PBS," Romney said, when asked by moderator Jim Lehrer what non-essential items he would trim from the federal budget. "I'm gonna stop other things," Romney said. "I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you too."

Moments later the Twitter handle "FiredBigBird" was created and just as quickly had nearly 30,000 followers.

"Yeah, I saw Big Bird was tweeting.  It's kind of funny," Abbott said.  "It was really interesting to see what was trending.  It was interesting to see how many people were talking about Mitt Romney or Barrack Obama."

Click Rain Senior Online Marketing Strategist Chris Prendergast calls this a sign that we have become a two screen society.

"You're never just sitting at home watching the debate or TV, you're also on your laptop or iPad at the same time.  It gives you a platform to talk to not just people in the room, but people around the world," Prendergast said.

If you walk down Phillips Avenue, anyone you stop probably has Facebook.  As a state, South Dakota has the most users per capita.

Even with the billion mark, Prendergast said Facebook might not always be here, but social media will have a lasting imprint.

"I don't think any cultural or political event going forward is going to succeed without any social media component," Abbott said.

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