Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fox News puts Twitter hashtags to work for debate

Fox News puts Twitter hashtags to work for debate Posted by on January 16, 2012

While there have already been many social activations to enhance the previous Republican debates, tonight?s airing on Fox News will be the first one in which Twitter itself is getting deeply involved. They?re encouraging users to use #answer or #dodge during each question to indicate on they feel the candidate handled the question, and real-time results will appear on Fox News is then going to use this information, or at least try to, in their analysis of the debate afterwards.

Fox and Twitter have tested this kind of tracking during a December debate, and they?re now ready to execute it completely. ?Fox was game to experiment with us on something that hadn?t been done before ? real-time measurement of audience reaction over Twitter,? said Adam Sharp, the manager of government and political partnerships for Twitter in Washington. Last time, Fox News told us it counted 150,000 tweets with the two hashtags during the two-hour debate. With more social promotion against tonight (Monday?s) debate ? and a big spotlight on South Carolina ? it should generate a larger response.

Twitter?s team works with Fox hours before the debate. Photo by @ritagarg.

While using Twitter to indicate sentiment on the candidates answers seems natural, it also seems like something that will be easy to spam. If candidates teams are able to rile up their teams to tweet #dodge no matter what the candidate?s answer, it might be difficult to determine if the meter?s are accurate. In December, Ron Paul tended to have the best #answer scores across all the candidates.

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