14,363… the number of tweets mentioning Quebec politics/election issued between 12am-12:30pmET, today (August 27).
21,419… the number of tweets mentioning the Republican Convention.
54,835… the number of tweets mentioning Mitt Romney.
82,318… the number of tweets mentioning Barack Obama.
When you consider those numbers, it’s hard to imagine how a meaningful mass conversation can happen. Perhaps if your full time job was participating in the mass conversation, you might be able to keep up with the 19 tweets/minute about Quebec politics and the current election. It’s not likely you could keep up with the nearly 29/minute about the Republican Convention, and forget about trying to keep up with the 73/minute about Mitt Romney or the 109/minute about Barack Obama.
What we’re talking about here is a lot of noise. In media parlance, that’s a lot of static. Put another way, the signal-to-noise ratio is not good.
To be sure, there is signal within the noise. Conversations? Not likely. In fact, each of the above mentioned themes are made up mostly of regular tweets (original content) followed by retweets (the Amplifier Effect). The rate of conversation ranges from 3% to 12% depending on the theme.
I bring this up because I’ve read a number of reports which suggest the chattering class on Twitter is likely to take the Republican Convention off script. While there is a significant amount of truth to this, you can see by the numbers the script is likely to be affected only by the musings of key participants or the swell of a large number of participants.
Oh, and based on analysis of tweets, Hurricane Isaac is indeed taking the Republican Convention off script.