Debate 2016: Who won? Not Trump or Hillary; social media for the win!

What a spectacle “The Great Debate” was last night. Who won? Who cares? I don’t physically know anyone who tuned in to listen to the issues or still is undecided on who to vote for. Are there undecided voters out there? Sure, but this breakdown isn’t about that. Here’s the real low down about what happened yesterday.

In a nutshell; the ratings weren’t on TV but rather online, Trump was word of mouth, Snapchat only gave us a Trump to snap about, and did we catch the color switch-up in the candidate’s clothing?


Photo: NBC News.

The real ratings were online.

According to Hollywood Reporter, ratings were up nearly a quarter than they were in 202 when Obama took on the oh-so-delusional Romney.

Approximately 80 million people tuned into watch the debate via television and according to Politico,  over 50 million people viewed live videos on Facebook  that were debate-related. Exact numbers are still unknown but if ads were any indication of how well these live feeds did then we can expect an unseen record of viewership.

People had a lot to say about Trump

The top name on everyone’s feed was Trump; Clinton was quiet, much as she was in the actual debate. Twitter reported that 62 percent of the final share of conversation about the debate was about Trump with 38 percent of tweets mentioning Clinton. Facebook noticed an even bigger gap with nearly eight out of every ten (79 percent) posts revolving around Trump with only a 21 percent mentioning Hillary.

This might sound as if Trump won the debate, however let’s remember that social media is place of thoughts and opinions. Saying that Trump won would be saying that three-fourths of the country had something positive to say about him; on the contraire. What these numbers show is that Trump was better at making noise, garnering both positive and negative attention. Whether Trump really won is qualitative but he definitely made an impression and left audiences talking about him.


Photo: Independent Journal Review.

So yes, if this was a contest to garner social media mentions, we must congratulate the Donald. His team was on point from the first minute before you and I even woke up and remembered that the debate was going to be in the evening. Trump’s camp heavily focused on social media; smart! If you’re not using these platforms then what are you doing? We have to remember that social is the new television. I’m holding my breath for Facebook TV. His team paid Snapchat for a series of geofilters which brings up a point about an equal opportunity for messaging on online platforms.

Did Snapchat snap Hillary of a fair chance?

Why Did Trump rule our Snap feeds? If television networks must allocate an equal amount of air time to paid advertising from both candidates, should social media do the same? Influencer Carlos Gil snapped how Trump’s paid filter was sending the wrong message to youth, which gave me the thought that regardless if he’s right or wrong but shouldn’t Hillary also have a fair shot to respond back with a filter of her own. From a campaign perspective Trump’s camp was brilliant to beat her to the Snapchat punch but should Snapchat have given her an opportunity or have been more impartial about the move? Throughout the day I counted three different Trump geofilters, although I’m sure there were probably more; I counted none for Hillary.


Photo: Carlos Gil

With social media evolving every day, its rules are being defined as we move along through trial and error. How and which platforms would control and limit an equal sponsorship opportunity between candidates is not my terrain to speak on; I’ll leave that to development teams at their HQ’s, but I just felt that if I can see a geofilter for Athlete A and Athlete B when there’s a match; why wouldn’t I be able to see the same for a national event? What if I wanted to use a Hillary filter to ridicule her? For better or for worse; it just doesn’t seem like Snapchat was fair, or it seems like there was a huge missed opportunity. That fine line between ethics and opportunity is so fine that sometimes squinting isn’t enough to see it.

The Devil wears red, or blue, who knows?

I was ecstatic to see such an obvious but underused persuasion tactic from the start: the psychology behind color choices. Did we miss that? Hillary was a lady in red (pantsuit); she gave us red; that’s half way, right? And Donald arrived in blue. They both looked sharp and like…candidates. Let’s face it; fashion is not their strength but they certainly weren’t short of making a statement. They clearly were out to subliminally appeal to the opposing party’s undecided-sympathizing voters. Smart move and should they both have been wearing the same color then things would’ve been very interesting but by completely mixing it up it almost seems as if it was planned. Their teams were in the right place and should the debate actually have been about politics then perhaps this tactic might’ve worked but since this was prime-time entertainment at its best; this was simply a great PR move to garner more attention. It worked, didn’t it? Women’s Wear Daily wrote up a piece about them, and we know how fashionable politics are, right?


Photo: New York Post.

Analysis aside, the true winners were the PR and advertising teams manning both camps. The media coverage, both on and off-line is undeniably unseen. As much as everyone complains about not liking either candidate, the public can’t seem to turn them away. It almost seems that in a shhh-don’t tell-anyone kind of way, Trump and Hillary have become our favorite duo. Good work, teams; you’ve built them up so well that we can’t seem to get enough of them. Some may not want to vote for them but they can’t help themselves to talking about them. Making people talk; that’s some PR isn’t it?

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