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presidential debate
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How to Talk about Political Debates on Social Media

October 21, 2016

Wednesday marked the final debate in an explosive election season. Of course, on the internet and social media the debate will carry on until November 8th and beyond. But televised debates tend to focus people’s collective attention and reinvigorate those discussions. Media coverage of the debates is full of headlines declaring that social media “blew up” in response to one moment or another. Others analyze which candidate “won the debate on social media,” or what social media can tell pundits about the current state of the race.

Of course, a Los Angeles social media company like mine is less interested in politics than in the question of what can be learned from the social media impact of these sorts of events. Some of the lessons from a presidential debate apply to any number of other events that draw the eye of a large segment of the country. Any local social media company would be remiss if it didn’t consider exploiting the phenomenon. But that same company must be careful to not appear overly exploitative or to alienate or offend a portion of its readership.

A well placed comment on a highly public event can generate a great deal of traffic through social media. But it can also court controversy, and it takes a skilled hand to navigate the boundaries between those two outcomes. When a local social media company injects itself into political dialogue, it should do so only with full awareness of the demographics and fundamental sentiments of its clients’ followers. It must endeavor to be relatively uncontroversial, but without saying something so trite that it will go unnoticed.

How does one do this, exactly? Well, that’s too complicated to reliably explain in a brief blog post. It is also a trick of the trade for a Beverly Hills social media company. And that is part of the reason why it is worth hiring a local social media company before trying to thrust your website or business into the social media conversations that follow televised debates.

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