Tweeting a Presidential speech

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

President Obama took his message public last night in an effort to convince Congress — and the world — of his plan for military action against Syria. As world opinion has evolved, and before a vote has gotten anywhere near Capitol Hill, how have politicians used Twitter to take their own arguments to the people, and to find out what they think?

Before the speech
Prior to the President’s 16-minute speech last night, the @WhiteHouse tweeted to encourage citizens to tune in.

At the same time, world leaders used Twitter to announce the latest news on the crisis:

In the days leading up to last night’s speech, members of the House and Senate were working out their own positions on Syria, many using Twitter to gather constituent opinions to help shape their own responses to the President’s plan.

@JaredPolis asked his constituents to suggest background reading:

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (@RepEBJ) asked voters to help her decide:

@RepScottPerry and @treyradel used Vine videos to let their voters in on the process:

@RepAndyHarrisMD shared the opinions of his constituents:

And those who came to a decision said so on Twitter:

Meanwhile, the world was watching.

 The speech

Click image to explore interactive version

Click image to explore interactive version of this chart.

The global conversation

Tweet map of the world around the Obama speech. Click it to explore it

Map of geotagged Tweets around last night’s speech. Click image to explore interactive map, made with CartoDB.

As the speech began, it was relayed live on Twitter too. The @WhiteHouse live-tweeted the President’s speech as it happened. This was one of the most-retweeted from their account last night:

Live-tweeting an event like this broadcasts the message and extends the reach of those who will see it — the @WhiteHouse tweeted 26 quotes from the speech. As of the end of the evening, Tweets posted by @WhiteHouse during the speech got 8,821 Retweets and 1,869 favorites — that’s 10x the number of Retweets and 6x the number of favorites @WhiteHouse sees on an average day.

Click image to explore interactive version

Click image to explore an interactive version of this chart.

As viewers absorbed the implications of the speech, politicians again turned to Twitter with instant reactions, and to connect directly with voters:

Do you know of any other innovative uses of Twitter? Let us know at [email protected].