I had so much fun live-tweeting the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Admittedly, when I watched the debates leading up to the party nominations, I often just snapchatted silly filters onto the candidates’ faces. This was my first experience consistently tweeting throughout a debate, as well as my first time using Twitter to analyze politics and political rhetoric. Using a combination of quotations, capslock, sarcasm, and rhetorical observations, I analyzed not just how the candidates answered the questions, but also how they presented themselves as viable options for president.

I found that I was sometimes overtaken with strong emotion, either support for Clinton or frustration with Trump, which resulted in some tweets that were not necessarily intelligent or even sensical. At other times, however, I focused on what the candidates were saying while still typing so that I was able to (hopefully) raise some legitimate questions about what the candidates were saying and how they said it.

After the debate, as I reread and compiled my tweets, I considered some questions that would become the basis of my exploration paper: How has social media altered the way in which both columnists and constituents analyze politics? Does the knowledge that tweets (and posts on social media in general) are hoped to garner likes and retweets compel writers and pundits to make the rhetoric of the material more accessible or popular to an online audience?

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