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Presidential Debates: Big Bird and Binders of Women

We have seen record-high tweet volumes during this election, especially as Election Day draws near. In particular, the presidential debates show windows of very intense Twitter activity. Twitter users instantly react to any quotable phrases by the candidates and participate in a public conversation that then

On the first debate, regarding government spending, Romney said: “I’m sorry Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS, I actually love Big Bird. I like you too, but I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.” Below, we show the tweets by hour mentioning “Big Bird” since October 2.

On the last presidential debate, on October 16, Romney used the phrase: “binders of full of women” which also took off on Twitter. Below are the hourly tweets for “binder”, “binders” and “#binders” since October 16. Twitter users have since started using these terms to start talking about women’s issues and the presidential campaigns.

Another way to look at this is to see the exposure for the terms since October 16. Exposure is the gross number of times that tweets containing each of these terms have appeared in a Twitter user’s timeline. This graph shows how the “binders” phrase has come into the public conversation since Tuesday night.