Bill Clinton’s speech on Wednesday night was a huge hit with journalists – it appears to have changed Chris Matthews’ life, prompting him to babble something about Clinton’s instinctual ability to have sexual intercourse with Martians – but it there were mixed signals outside of the auditorium.
The television ratings were solid but unspectacular, with 21 million people watching the Cowboys-Giants game, compared to 7.5 million for Clinton on the broadcast nets. Throw in another 11.8 million viewers from the cable news networks and Clinton matched up better. Obviously, counter-programming against the first football game of the season is tough, and TV ratings aren’t necessarily a good measure of influence in the online era anyway. Lots of people will watch the speech later, in snippets or in full, through downloaded video clips.
The social media feedback was interesting. Twitter activity picked up to a brisk clip of 22,000 Tweets per minute during the speech, which is not quite as busy as Michelle Obama’s 28,000, but more than Mitt Romney’s 14,000, according to Reuters. Some of those messages would be supportive, others critical, but Reuters says an indexed rating of approving Tweets gave Clinton a significant boost in popularity while he was speaking.
On the other hand, digital media analyst Al DiGuido said that overnight figures showed a much higher tide of Facebook “likes” rolling in Paul Ryan (101,000 electronic “thumbs up” ratings) and Mitt Romney (+83,000) than Clinton (+30,000) or Obama (+55,000.) Rounding out the presidential tickets, Joe Biden received just 15,000 “likes” from Facebook users, but he’ll have his chance to dazzle them tonight. Interestingly, DiGuido notes that George W. Bush’s Facebook following is about two and a half times the size of Bill Clinton’s.
Also, campaign watchers will be relieved to know Google has put a link to watch live streaming of Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night on their home search engine page. Alas, according to DiGuido, they somehow forgot to do this for Mitt Romney’s speech last week.