The debate is over and the analyses of performances and activity are in full swing. Here is some initial analysis of online activity related to the debate, conducted using Sysomos MAP. Full disclosure: Twitter is a client of my company.

Volume of activity

There were 93,462 #macdebate tweets issued between 8:00pmET and 10:00pmET, accounting for 92.8% of the day’s 100,762 #macdebate tweets (by that time). By contrast, there were nearly 114,000 election-related tweets issued on May 2, 2011, ballot day for the last federal election.

By 10:00pmET, 55,491 unique Twitter accounts had contributed to the #macdebate Twitter activity — a truly ‘second screen’ experience. Not bad for a Thursday night at the height of vacation season.

The “biggest minute” was 8:39pm when participants issued 1,227 tweets, just over 20 tweets/second.


Minute-by-minute Twitter activity of the #macdebate hashtag

Leader mentions

Justin Trudeau had a commanding lead of the leader mentions (by Twitter handle) during the debate. His 11,847 mentions put him just slightly ahead of Elizabeth May’s 10,956 Twitter mentions (roughly 91/minute). Prime Minister Stephen Harper earned 8,776 mentions (roughly 73/minute) and Thomas Mulcair trailed with a mere 6,381 mentions (roughly 53/minute).


Total mentions of the party leaders (by their Twitter handle) during #macdebate. Analysis using Sysomos MAP.

Issues discussed

The buzzgraph below highlights some of the issues most discussed within #macdebate tweets. They include:

  • the economy (and taxes) including whether or not Canada is in a recession, and the state of Canada’s economy in relation to other G7 countries
  • Bill C-51 (c-51 and c51) and its relevance to discussions about ISIS
  • the environment and green policy
  • the need to address First Nations issues
  • pipelines and the oil industry
  • Senate reform

There was also discussion on whether or not the Prime Minister was refusing to look at the camera during the debate, and the fact that the sound clips reveal a strong performance by all leaders. Because they all had their strong and weak moments,  it’s not really possible to pick a clear winner.

Buzzgraph of #macdebate discussions. Analysis using Sysomos.

Buzzgraph of #macdebate discussions. Analysis using Sysomos MAP.


Most of the Twitter activity was comprised of retweets (57%), what I call amplification. Regular tweets, or original content came in second (40%) and replies, were a very small 3%. The small degree of replies is no surprise since most people would be watching the debate and tweeting their thoughts and reactions in real time. The conversation will likely pick up following the debate when people are more likely to pore through the incredible volume of activity.

Tweet types from #macdebate. Analysis using Sysomos MAP.

Tweet types from #macdebate. Analysis using Sysomos MAP.

Most contributors shared only a single tweet (70%). A smaller portion shared 2-4 tweets (24%). The most engaged and “hyper-engaged” represented only 6% of the participants.

Level of engagement in #macdebate. Analysis using Sysomos MAP.

Level of engagement in #macdebate. Analysis using Sysomos MAP.


Within Canada, Ontario led provincial participation with 54.1% share of voice, followed by BC with 14.3% and Alberta with 11.5%.

Province partcipation in #macdebate. Analysis using Sysomos MAP.

Province participation in #macdebate. Analysis using Sysomos MAP.

It was, of course, a Canadian event. Still, there were participants who jumped in from around the world. Some, of course, are Canadian’s abroad and ex-pats. Some of these participants self-declare as being a “Canadian mentally.”


#macdebate tweet by @Farees, “Canadian mentally”, in Cairo.

Geographic heatmap of #macdebate tweets for August 6, 2015 (to 10:00pmET)

Geographic heatmap of #macdebate tweets for August 6, 2015 (to 10:00pmET). Analysis using Sysomos MAP.