Last night’s presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama set a new record topping the previous record set during the Democratic National Convention thanks in part to Big Bird.

According to the Twitter Government team, Romney’s mention of Big Bird and  cutting subsidies to PBS generated 17,000 tweets per second while tweets about PBS clocked in at 10,000 tweets per second.

According to Twitter, the debates generated 10.3 million tweets, topping the 9.5 million tweets issues during the Democratic National Convention in early September.

I knew something was up when I saw my twitter feed appearing on my computer at lightning speed, making it hard to keep up with those that I follow.

The next debate will be between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden and should attract a significant amount of attention, but it will be hard pressed to top last night’s figures.

During Monday night’s GOP debate in South Carolina, Twitter asked viewers to vote on whether or not candidates answered or dodged the questions they were asked.

Here are the results from the Twitter blog.

Newt Gingrich
After a slow start and a net #dodge rating for an answer on his recent attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, Gingrich elicited strong #answer ratings for much of the remainder of the debate. His highest #answer peaks came during his comments on unemployment and his reply to Juan Williams about characterizing President Obama as a “food stamp President.”

Mitt Romney
While generating the highest total volume of Tweets among the candidates, Romney spent most of the debate with net Twitter user reaction firmly in #dodge territory. The former Massachusetts governor’s explanation for not releasing his tax records generated the most significant #dodge reaction, but Romney scored #answer ratings for his replies on Medicare and Social Security reform and his refusal to negotiate with the Taliban.

Rick Perry’s biggest Twitter reaction came right at the end of the debate, as Twitter users rewarded him by noting #answer for his response to a question on immigration.

Users tweeted that Rick Santorum’s biggest #dodge of the night was in his answers to questions on gun control, but they applauded his answers on employment.

Ron Paul saw his most significant number of #dodge votes in answers around foreign policy

This wasn’t a scientific analysis since it relied on Twitter users and they can be notoriously fickle, but it was an interesting engagement device to keep users tweeting above and beyond the normal banter that occurs during a debate.

Even though Barack Obama’s Twitter Town Hall consisted largely of carefully selected softball question tweets that didn’t stop users of the microblogging service from generating 169,395 tweets.

The breakdown according t TVNewser:

  • Jobs – 18,957
  • Budget – 15,000
  • Taxes – 14,777
  • Education – 8,833

Despite the preferential treatment and controlled questions Obama still managed to muff the answers according to the Associated Press who did  a quick fact check on the president’s answers.

My recommendation is that maybe next time e could have the answers appear to him in a tweet format via his teleprompter.

Last week I wrote about a new website named Top Conservatives on Twitter or TCOT for short.

At that time I complained about the way the site ranked twitter users who registered on the site.

Since then I have been conducting my own experiment to see how much I could improve my rank by adding followers.

I am pleased to report that I managed to take my ranking from its worst at 101 to one below 70.  The site updates the rankings every few hours so any ranking that I use will change multiple times during the day.

While I would like to stay there or even better improve my ranking, it will take a lot of work.  To boost my initial ranking I followed almost everyone ranked regardless of whether or not I was truly interested in their tweets or not.  This resulted in my follower number going from about 520 to over 800 by Sunday evening.  That’s a pretty good growth rate but it took a lot of time as the TCOT list on Saturday was about 530 or so names.  As of this morning it’s almost 850.

I would try and add many of those 300 or so new people to the list but since there is no list that I am aware of of recent additions to the list I would have to review almost all the names again to find the new adds.

Now after a weekend of furiously following people and adding followers in return, I find myself wondering how much more time I should spend in adding followers so that I won’t lose any ground to others or to improve my rankings.

Plus I still have a problem with being ranked solely on the number of followers.  One of the purposes of  TCOT is to build a community.  Well how do you build a community if you are only ranked on followers but not the tweets which is how you communicate with one another?

My solution although it is far from perfect would be to award points for the number of followers and tweets and the combined score would then be ranked.  For example, one of the people ranked ahead of me has 969 followers but just 760 tweets.  To me that tells me he isn’t very active on twitter and therefore deserves a lower ranking.  So if we were to award 2 points per follower and 1 point per tweet he would 2,698 points.  My score in comparison would be 3,768 because I send several tweets a day.

In my mind a list like the TCOT is a very useful tool, but it also gives the impression that the higher the ranking the more important or influential a person is which is not the case.

For now it’s what we have and I can always brag that I am ranked higher than G. Gordon Liddy (167).

Conservatives who use the microblogging site Twitter now have a new web site to not only get ranked but to find new followers.  Yet as with all new sites this one could use some tweaking to make it more useful.

The site which is called Top Conservatives on Twitter or TCOT for short had close to 500 twitters ranked as of early this morning and continues to expand at a rapid pace.

When I learned about this page I submitted my info and the next day was ranked 79th.  As the day progressed I dropped to 96th and then to 101st early this morning.

The reason for my drop wasn’t due to my lack of using the service but due to the fact that I wasn’t adding followers fast enough to keep up with the competition.

As I looked at the rankings I spotted a flaw in my mind with the follower based rankings.  I was ahead of Mary Katherine Ham who is far for influential than I am but isn’t particularly active on Twitter.

If you look at the other names ahead of me and Mary Katherine you will find people that you never heard of and whose circle of influence is quite small in the conservative arena.  Also it isn’t clear that everyone on the list is actually conservative and many of them rarely issue updates.  What good is that?

I suspect a large number of the ranked twitterer’s are just looking for more followers and love the idea that they get ranked for just adding followers no matter what their political leanings are.

There are also people on the list who no longer have accounts on twitter for some reason, yet there they will probably remain distorting the rankings.

I readily admit that my criticisms are motivated by the fact that my ranking is lower than what I think it should be.  But I don;t see why someone with 700 followers but 100 updates should be ranked ahead of me when I have over 1,900 updates just because I don’t have as many followers.

There probably isn’t a best method for these rankings, but I think in fairness to the active twitterer’s some consideration should be given to the updates so that it doesn’t just become a horse race for followers.  Of course that isn’t perfect either as people could just send a ton of one word or spam tweets just to get their update count up.

In any event if you aren’t using Twitter you should and if you are conservative sign up on the TCOT page and get ranked.  I’ll even follow you.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) a notorious champion of fighting earmarks in Congress has taken yet another bold step by launching a new website today at PorkParade.com.

In his press release Flake said that “Congress will only end its enthusiasm for pork when enough citizens make their displeasure known,” and that he hoped the new website will give Congress that message.

For those that sign up for e-mails the site will periodically send messages on how his effort is going.  The site will also utilize microblogging site Twitter to send regular messages from the House floor and for those that are already using the service they can particpate via #pork.

Flake also hopes to load videos on YouTibe as well as bookmarking stories using delicious.com.

With the Republicans in the minority and likely to stay that way after November grassroots efforts such as this will be the most effective way to get reluctant Republicans and recalcitrant Democrats to get off their collective butts and finally bring spending under control.

This past weekend several hundred bloggers and other new media types gathered in Las Vegas for the 2nd annual BlogWorld conference and New Media Expo to glean tips and tricks from some of the top bloggers  and blogging experts in the world.

Each day started out with a keynote speech that was fairly well attended but it was the individual sessions that seemed to attract the biggest crowds overall.  There was a wide range of topics from Sports blogging to what I will call God blogging to some nuts and bolts sessions on twitter and facebook.

In the political panels sponsored by Pajamas Media there was some heat generated when a questioner asked a liberal panelist who supported Barack Obama about getting rid of Che Guevara images and references to Hezbollah from an Obama web site.  That didn’t go over very well with the panelist but created a buzz in the audience as we finally got some lively debate.

The most useful session that I attended was the Facebook Fortunes which was given by Shama Hyder who used case studies of how Facebook can help individuals and groups achive bigger and better things.  The least useful was a relationship building session by German Nicole Simon who was competent but with her German accent and slides that had spelling and grammatical errors didn’t wow me or the crowd.

During my visit to the expo hall I picked up a bunch of free t-shirts ( good swag) as well as a lot of interesting information on software and widgets that may be useful to my corporate blog.  Maybe I’ll try some out here as well.

All in all it was well worth the $200 registration fee and travel expenses to attend.  The sessions, expo hall and the networking were invaluable to me.  I added a few Facebook friends and some twitter followers and decided to start this blog so it was very productive weekend.