The Democratic presidential contenders won’t be the only ones vying for the spotlight during their next debate on Nov. 14. Twitter Inc. is joining with CBS News to provide data analysis, live reactions and questions from viewers that will let any viewer become a part of the live television event, Twitter announced Monday.
During the CBS News broadcast of the debate, viewers will see real-time responses to what is said, drawn from Twitter’s users. The data -- collected by CBS staff and on-site Twitter employees through Twitter's curation tools -- will include analysis on reactions that could include sentiment scores (positive versus negative wording). Twitter also recently released a polling tool that allows users to tweet a poll with two choices. The poll can stay live for up to 24 hours. Additionally, CBS can pull questions from Twitter users. The official event hashtag will be #DemDebate.
“Our people have worked with Twitter’s unique curator tools to measure changing responses to what viewers will see on the screen,” CBS News President David Rhodes said in a statement on Twitter’s blog. “This Twitter integration will inform our coverage and integrate seamlessly with CBSN, our always-on digital network.”
Twitter and CBS could also create a so-called Moment -- a curated feed of tweets, Twitter videos, Vines and GIFs -- about the Democratic debate. Twitter staff select which Moments are created in real time, based on online traffic and their editorial judgment, spokesman Nick Pacilio told IBT. CBS News is one of the select partners of Moments and could curate its own. Additionally, an advertiser could pay to sponsor a Moment, as was done Sunday for the coming movie "Creed."
A ‘Moment’ For Twitter
This event is the first big partnership for Twitter integrating with a live television debate. Facebook has repeatedly partnered with TV networks, most recently with the first Democratic debate on CNN and the first Republican debate on Fox News. For the GOP debate, Fox pulled direct questions to ask candidates from Facebook users and also analyzed the most-discussed campaign topics prior to debate.
But Twitter has increasingly tried to position itself as the source for real-time, live conversation. While the company has just over 300 million monthly active users -- against Facebook’s 1.49 billion -- Twitter recently released a new statistic to show that tweets reach a much larger audience because they can be curated by media sites and television networks.
"Twitter's larger than people think," its product manager, Michael Ducker, told International Business Times. “If you choose to tweet to Twitter, your voice can be heard by those billion viewers. We want to be the live public conversation.”
Twitter has continued to be a dominant social network for politicians. Candidates have held question-and-answer sessions with constituents via Twitter and also used hashtags for spreading their messages, such New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s #TellingItLikeItIs and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s #StandWithRand. Those campaign have not garnered the most positive responses, however, and Christie and Paul are both near zero in the polls.
Other candidates have tapped Twitter as an advertising and campaign fundraising tool. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont paid to promote the hashtag #DebateWithBernie, which helped him garner the most mentions of the night, reaching more than 1.3 million, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had 372,000, according to data analytics company Brandwatch.
That was the first time a candidate had paid to promote a trend during a debate, Twitter's Pacilio said. Campaigns can also pay to promote individual tweets. Twitter also directly channels campaign donations via a partnership with mobile payment company Square.