The Sciences

As Obama Makes History, the Internet Records It

Reality BaseBy Melissa LafskyAug 29, 2008 9:48 PM

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The crowd was bursting at the seams in Invesco Field last night—MSM reports have put attendance anywhere from 75,000 to more than 84,000—but for those not packed into the confines of Mile High Stadium, Obama's historic acceptance speech was alive and well on the Internet. The Democratic nominee's address—made on the 45th anniversary of civil rights leader Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech—was streamed live on MSM sites, posted to YouTube with astonishing speed, and blogged at length. But one real winner for the night, in addition to the Democratic candidate, was Twitter. The micro-blogging site, which has been gradually but surely infiltrating the political realm, had a huge night, with Wired's Sarah Lai Stirland reporting that "[m]ore than 6,500 tweets poured through the service in just 20 minutes...most of them brief, two-line assessments of Obama's performance." While Obama may not have the most comfortable lead in the polls, he does lead the world's most followed Twitterer list by a wide margin, with 67,969 followers, though he wasn't the only Democrat to inspire tidal waves of Tweets—Bill Clinton's speech the night before also drove viewers to their computers and cell phones. Interestingly, even some media veterans appeared to be embracing (or at least warming to) the use of this new edit-free insta-blogging as a way to cover a major event—which is fortunate, since the brevity and availability of a service like Twitter means that reporters can provide succinct accounts of events in real time, before the pundits have a chance to ruminate, editorialize, and wind their way through the editorial channels. Unfortunately, David Brooks hasn't gotten the memo yet.

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