During #Demdebate, Twitter ‘feels the Bern’

February 12, 2016
Hillary Clinton speaks as Bernie Sanders listens. REUTERS/Jim Young

Hillary Clinton speaks as Bernie Sanders listens. REUTERS/Jim Young

Hillary Clinton made modest inroads on Twitter during Thursday night’s Democratic primary debate. But – on social media, at least – Bernie Sanders was the big winner.

Clinton and rival candidate Bernie Sanders broke even in terms of Twitter mentions associated with the hashtag #DemDebate, according to the social media platform’s data.

In terms of overall Twitter mentions, however, the numbers weren’t so close.

Sanders netted nearly 158,000 mentions during the PBS debate, while Clinton garnered 139,000, according to data from social media analytics firm Brandwatch. This marked a slowing of momentum from the previous Democratic debate on February 4, when Clinton saw 136,000 mentions to Sanders’ 151,000.

While social media buzz doesn’t always necessarily reflect support for one particular candidate over another, it can be a good indication of where enthusiasm is directed.

The Vermont senator, who has drawn broad support from younger liberals, has so far dominated the social sphere during the primary campaign. He regularly sees overwhelming support on the social media platform Yik Yak, which is popular among millennials.

Of course, not everything Sanders said resonated with millennials.

Twitter users flooded the micro-blogging platform with jokes after Sanders referred to smoking pot as “do marijuana,” while discussing drug use in America. The choice of words struck some as hilariously un-hip.

“Bernie sounds his age when he says people ‘do marijuana’ #DemDebate,” tweeted Lions of Liberty (@LionsofLiberty) Thursday.

“Never mind that video of Bernie Sanders saying ‘do marijuana’ cured my depression,” tweeted marissa! (@zecretary).

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