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How DeSantis’s Twitter Spaces Event Compares to Past Livestreams

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Within hours of Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing his presidential run on Twitter on Wednesday, attendees at the audio event celebrated the achievement.

Venture capitalist David Sachs, who moderated the conversation on Twitter, said: Declared It’s “the biggest room ever held on social media.” Later that day, Florida Republican DeSantis said in a podcast interview that “perhaps over 10 million people” would have “watched” the event, or a recording of it, called Twitter Space.

They were wrong on both counts.

The audio event, which was initially interrupted by a technical glitch for more than 20 minutes before resuming, was initially interrupted by about 300,000 concurrent listeners, or listeners who watched at the same time as DeSantis’ announcement, according to Twitter statistics. It is said that he collected As of Thursday, 3.4 million people had listened to Space and its recordings, according to Twitter figures.

That number is less than 10 million people, far from being the “largest venue ever held on social media” compared to past livestreams.

At a 2016 Facebook Live event, two BuzzFeed employees wrapped rubber bands around a watermelon until it exploded. 800,000+ concurrent viewers And within hours of closing, it had a total of 5 million views. In 2017, when he live-streamed a pregnant giraffe on YouTube, he attracted 5 million viewers per day.

The event with Mr. DeSantis seemed dwarfed by past audio livestreams on Twitter.That’s it for last month At one point 3 million people listened at the same time Interview with Twitter owner Elon Musk BBC reporter in the Twitter space, according to the company’s figures.a a record of that space Ultimately, 2.6 million listeners “watched”, he said. (Twitter does not account for the difference between concurrent listeners and “viewed” numbers.)

“Having hundreds of thousands of people do something for minutes isn’t that big of a deal,” said Brian Wieser, a longtime media analyst who runs strategic advisory firm Madison & Wall. ” says. “I’m not sure that using Twitter to announce the presidential election was the most influential environment, but maybe Twitter could be.”

The online event was touted as a modern way of making political declarations that bypassed traditional media such as cable news and network television, and thus determined the reach and audience of Mr. DeSantis’ announcements on Twitter. is important. But the first numbers from Twitter raise questions about whether presidential candidates can ignore traditional media in their big announcements about their election campaigns.

Television viewership in general is not as high as it was a decade ago, but some live political events still draw large audiences. For example, according to Nielsen, when President Biden delivered his State of the Union address on Feb. 7, it was broadcast live to 27.3 million people on 16 television networks.

In an email, Sachs said his claim that the space with DeSantis was “the biggest room ever” came from a Twitter engineer. He said he counted other livestreams sharing the same audio as the original space.

“We’ve asked for a more detailed analysis, but we’re a little busy right now,” Sachs said.

Representatives for Musk and DeSantis, who appeared on Fox News following his Twitter space, did not respond to requests for comment.

That doesn’t mean that using social media to make political announcements isn’t powerful. Weezer said that with such a fragmented media, there is no platform to unify, and politicians are often motivated by the quality of their audience. Perhaps DeSantis’ goal is not to reach the masses, but to those most likely to be persuaded to donate to him or help spread his message, he said.

Comparing social media reach to broadcast TV can also be difficult. “Unique” views on social media represent individual accounts that have accessed posts and other content, not visits. Such viewing is not necessarily human, as bot activity may be involved, and does not indicate to the viewer whether he watched for 30 seconds or 30 minutes. By contrast, television ratings represent average viewership over time, Wieser said.

Twitter also didn’t explain how it counts livestream listeners versus Twitter Spaces recording listeners.

“Reach on Twitter is artificial. People watch and watch channels faster,” said senior analyst Ross Benez. “They’re probably watching on mobile devices, which aren’t as effective as big screen TVs.” Work with Insider Intelligence covering digital video, TV and streaming.

After the Twitter Space with Mr. DeSantis ended on Wednesday, traditional media teased the event’s technical flaws. When DeSantis appeared on Fox News, host Trey Gordy quipped, “Fox News won’t crash during this interview.” The segment attracted nearly two million viewers.

On Thursday, DeSantis also tried to downplay Twitter Space’s technical problems. His campaign sent out fundraising emails and displayed a T-shirt that said the presidential candidate “broke the Internet.”

Nicholas Nehamas and John Cobrin Contributed to the report.

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