The political year on Twitter, by the numbers

December 12, 2012

On Tuesday, Twitter released lists of the top trending topics and tweets of 2012. The social networking Web site was a huge part of the 2012 election conversation, with politicians, the reporters who cover them, and voters increasingly relying on the medium for communication. 

Below, we take a by-the-numbers look at the 2012 intersection of politics and Twitter, based off the data released on Tuesday: 

* 817,062: The number of times an Election Night tweet from President Obama's account has been retweeted -- the most ever for a tweet. The message included a photo of the president and first lady Michelle Obama hugging and the words "Four more years."

* 31 million: As a topic, the election generated over 31 million tweets on Election Day. By comparison, the Summer Olympics in London sparked 150 million tweets, while users sent out 13.7 million tweets about the Super Bowl during the game. 

* 10 million: The numbers of tweets produced by the first presidential debate. When we look back on the 2012 campaign between Obama and Mitt Romney, after a few years, the first meeting between the two -- in which Romney was widely viewed as the clear winner -- will likely be the one people remember most, because of how one-sided it was. 

* 2: The ranking of #teaparty on the list of the year's top politics trends on Twitter. Twitter defines "trends" as "topics for which we see noteworthy spikes in Twitter conversations." #Tcoct (top conservatives on Twitter) was number one on the list.

* 348,000: The number of tweets sent out about Romney's "47 percent" comment by the middle of the day after video of his controversial remarks was posted online by Mother Jones.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Chris Cillizza · December 12, 2012