Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Right now, the nation and the world are reacting to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in real time, online, using Twitter. You can follow along and offer your own thoughts on the convention by using the hashtag DNC2012, or #DNC2012.
These are the first conventions since Twitter has gone mainstream and it’s changing the way voters and candidates take part in the political process.
A record four-million Tweets were sent out during last week’s Republican National Convention.
On the final night, Tweets per minute jumped to more than 6,000 after Clint Eastwood’s memorable performance, before peaking at a record of more than 14,000 per minute during Romney’s speech.
“Some people like to follow along and sort of make comments from the peanut gallery, so to speak,” said Anthony Rotolo, professor at Syracuse University's iSchool.
Whether serious or sarcastic, the iSchool at Syracuse University is following the convention conversations online. So are the campaigns.
“As the social media users started latching onto the speeches or topics that they were really interested in, the campaigns have to make decisions about whether or not they want to follow that train of thought so to speak, or they want to try to massage the conversation back to the talking points,” explained Rotolo.
It can also be a political tactic. The most re-Tweeted Tweet during the RNC was actually from a Democrat – President Obama – whose response to Clint Eastwood temporarily took over the conversation.
"It'll be Interesting to see if during the DNC the Republicans are able to pull off a coup like that as well,” Rotolo said.
Needless to say, Twitter is having an impact on the political process, whether positive or negative.
“It certainly is keeping people in the conversation. It's certainly keeping interest among some voters. And we'll see if that turns into turnout later on,” said Rotolo. Twitter also has its own political index
, using an algorithm that plugs in both positive and negative Tweets about each candidate, which are then calculated and the results are updated daily.
It should be noted that last week during the RNC, Romney had a big lead. It’ll be interesting to see where each of the candidates stands come November and if such an algorithm can accurately forecast a winner.