Twitter experienced an extraordinary jump in engagement during this year's Republican National Convention. Over four million total tweets discussing Mitt Romney's big night were sent out, which already amounts to a massive increase over 2008: that year, Twitter activity for both conventions combined topped out around 360,000.
Romney's peak: 14,355 tweets per minute
Adam Sharp, Twitter's head of government news and social innovation, appeared on CNN to parse out some of the numbers. The RNC's pacing was fairly successful, with tweets climbing steadily as Clint Eastwood, an empty chair, and Marco Rubio warmed the audience for Romney. The presidential nominee took the stage shortly thereafter, with the peak of his speech drawing 14,355 tweets per minute. That number bests President Obama's State of the Union address earlier this year, though the President still managed to cast his influence over the GOP event. First he brought down Reddit during a surprise appearance, and now his campaign's "This seat's taken" response to Eastwood's bizarre act has been declared the single most retweeted item of the convention.
"Conventions are a collection of moments, they are a collection of reactions, and what Twitter does is bring you closer," said Sharp, attributing the surge in political commentary to Twitter's social backbone and multi-device strategy. "It brings you back to that experience of watching these events on the couch and being able to react to them with your friends and with other people watching." The question now becomes whether Democrats can match or exceed the RNC's performance at their own convention in Charlotte this week.