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Social media gets creative during debate

NEED TO KNOW
  • XBox live gamers overwhelmingly choose President Obama as winner of first debate
  • Big Bird is big breakout star

Editor's note: Mario Armstrong is HLN's Digital Lifestyle Contributor. You can follow him on Twitter @MarioArmstrong.

With media outlets showing live tweets on-screen during the debates last night, the social media response to the event was huge. While the issues were discussed and tempers flared, the biggest reaction online wasn't about either candidate. It was about Big Bird.

That's right, Big Bird, the eight-foot tall avian star of the hit PBS show "Sesame Street." When Mitt Romney was asked how he would trim the deficit, Romney threatened to shut down PBS, while apologizing to Big Bird. According to Twitter, the reaction was immediate -- Big Bird was being mentioned at the astonishing rate of 17,000 tweets per minute.

An unofficial @FiredBigBird Twitter account quickly sprang up, and accumulated 25,000 followers before Twitter shut it down today. On Facebook, which just announced that they've hit a staggering one billion users, Big Bird's fans were up in arms as well. A Facebook page, Big Bird for President, has already accumulated more than 7,000 likes.

Another meme that took off in a big way during the debate was an image of a "hair swap." Basically, someone used Photoshop to switch Romney's hair with Obama's! That image alone got 10,000 retweets on Twitter.

Social media is expanding in a big way, and it's not just those with smartphones or computers sitting in from of the TV who are able to participate. Thanks to a new service from Microsoft, gamers were able to join the debates on the Xbox Live Election Hub. While watching along on their gaming console, the service allowed people submit questions and comments about the performance of the candidates. 

At the end, Microsoft ran a poll and asked who the gamers would vote for. The response came back overwhelmingly in favor of Obama: While 59% of those surveyed said they would vote for the current president, only 27% said they would vote for Romney.

So maybe "Call of Duty" players can put together a clan and wage a new war to save Big Bird.

 

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