Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

The State of the Union Gets Live-Tweeted

Live-tweeting news events isn’t just for journalists and sports fans anymore. On Tuesday night, every memorable and controversial bit of U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was immediately posted and dissected online.

Two Republican presidential candidates — Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer — tweeted responses in real time throughout the president’s speech.

Both were incredulous about Obama’s various claims and promises, making ample use of exclamation marks. They also both painstakingly posted the #SOTU hashtag alongside each tweet.

(We heard Newt Gingrich had also considered live-tweeting, but apparently he was busy with other things in Florida.)

While Santorum and Roemer got feisty, Obama’s official Twitter account studiously posted sound bites from the official speech.

Twitter said the most popular moment with tweeters overall was Obama’s corny joke about spilled milk, in a section about legislation reform. Whether people loved it or hated it, they tweeted about it, at a rate of 14,131 tweets per minute.

Overall, Twitter counted 766,681 tweets about the State of the Union.

Did you catch any members of Congress looking down at their phones? In all, congresspeople (with the help of their staffs) accounted for 548 tweets during the time of the speech, Twitter said.

But by far the most entertaining SOTU live-tweeter was New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who stayed up late, despite tonight’s proximity to the Super Bowl, in order to take in Obama’s remarks.

Ochocinco noted the lack of smiling from “the guy over Obama’s left shoulder.” When a follower identified “the guy” as House Speaker John Boehner, Ochocinco looked up Boehner’s Twitter handle, and analyzed his tweet history as “pretty angry.”

Ochocinco’s followers jokingly turned it into a drinking game, at one point counting a Boehner nose-scratch as “close enough” to a smile.

After Ochocinco complained about the long applause breaks, and inquired about Obama’s impressive ability to memorize (followers informed him Obama was using a teleprompter), a follower chided the football player for sounding like he was “experiencing politics” for the first time.

Ochocinco took it in stride, responding that it was “like losing [his] virginity all over again.”

(Graph image credit: Twitter)


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