24 hours of global governance

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Over the course of 24 hours, global attention turned to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas state legislature and the Australian Parliament — and Twitter served as the global town square for all of these significant civic showdowns.

This morning, the Supreme Court handed down widely-anticipated rulings on two pieces of legislation, the Federal #DOMA and California’s #Prop8. There were 1.6 million Tweets about these landmark decisions, with the conversation peaking at 12,228 Tweets per minute. As the graph above shows, this TPM peak came at 10:04am EDT — immediately after the #DOMA decision was announced, suggesting that citizens had tuned into Twitter, awaiting news of their decision.

Tweets came from all across the nation and around the world. California had the highest number of Tweets, with 12% of the total Tweet volume. New York had 8% of the Twitter conversation, Texas had 5%; Florida and Illinois each contributed 3%.

Tweets and Vine posts captured a host of reactions from citizens, journalists, pundits and elected officials across the country, from the steps of the Supreme Court to the halls of Congress to Air Force One:

State Senator Wendy Davis’s Filibuster

Meanwhile, yesterday in Austin, Texas, State Senator Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) stood for a nearly 13-hour filibuster to prevent #SB5, a more restrictive law regarding abortion procedures, from passing before midnight when the legislative session formally ended. As the night wore on, the Twitter conversation about the filibuster accelerated, peaking at 8,781 TPM at 11:58pm CDT (as the graph above shows).

Throughout the filibuster and #SB5 debate, there were (also) 1.6 million Tweets, with 550,000 mentions of #standwithwendy. Though the debate was very specific to a piece of Texas legislation, Tweets poured in from around the country. The states showing the most Twitter conversation on this event were Texas, California, New York, Illinois, and Florida. The national attention on the filibuster caused a 1,875% growth (4,200 to 83,000) in Davis’ Twitter followers.

Supporters in Austin used Vine to share responses from within the Capitol with everyone following the mounting drama.

The debate has continued today, particularly following an announcement from Gov. Rick Perry (@TXGov):

Australia’s parliamentary #spill
Continuing a dramatic 24 hours in global government and politics, the ruling Australian Labour Party transformed itself in dramatic fashion: Julia Gillard, the first female Prime Minister in the nation’s history, was ousted by former PM Kevin Rudd with a caucus vote of 57-45, ushering in a new leadership class within the party. As a result Gillard decided to resign from the Parliament, and the rest of the leadership and Ministers have decided to move to the back of the bench.

People from all over the world followed along on Twitter using #auspol and #spill, which was trending worldwide at the same time as the Texas filibuster and #standwithwendy.

In just 24 hours, Twitter served as the global town square for significant civic showdowns.