In the past three years since the last election, twitter’s audience in Australia has grown considerably. This was adequately reflected in a graphic released by Twitter Australia. During the first leaders debate of the Australian Election, Twitter registered more than 75,000 tweets related to the topic between 6:30PM and 7:30PM tonight while the debate took place.
Clearly Twitter rates the success of an event on Tweets Per Minute (TPM) as the graph charts the TPM as the debate moved through different topics. During the Asylum seeker discussion the figure rose to 1,488 TPM. As the debate touched on (wouldn’t call it a debate) the NBN, it increased to 1,517 TPM but that was eclipsed at the end by the issue of marriage equality.
I noticed my Tweetdeck column explode with traffic as soon as the issue was raised, but definitely after Kevin Rudd mentioned the 100 day period to introduce legislation. The peak Tweets Per Minute during the #LeadersDebate was 2,010 at 7:29PM.
While conversations are still flowing now, the traffic rapidly decreased after the TV coverage stopped. While these number pale in significance to US politics, it does graphically demonstrate the arrival of social media in the political debate.
Something that’s not clear from all of this conversation is whether any votes are actually converted from one side of politics to the other. Or if the back and forward is simply a platform for those firmly behind a team to have their thoughts confirmed.