By Nichola Groom
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night ranked as the biggest political moment ever on the social media site Twitter.
The number of tweets about the Democratic convention blew away similar figures from the Republican National Convention a week earlier.
The Obama campaign has always made extensive use of social media to reach young voters and media scholar Robert Thompson of Syracuse University said Thursday night's speech was split up into seven-minute sections that make it ideal for Web distribution.
"He spoke in segments that are perfect for YouTube," said Thompson, an expert on television and popular culture at Syracuse's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. "This was a speech made for use by the Democrats for social media."
The president's speech prompted 52,756 tweets per minute just after it ended, a new record according to Twitter.
The peak tweets per minute, following some of Obama's most memorable lines, exceeded all other moments for any speaker during either the Democratic or Republican conventions.
The biggest reactions came when Obama declared, "I'm no longer just the candidate. I'm the president," followed by a promise that "I will never turn Medicare into a voucher."
The Democratic convention's final day, on which Obama spoke, generated 4 million tweets, about equal to the total number of tweets for the entire Republican National Convention.
Obama gained on the Twitter Political Index, which measures how tweeters feel about a candidate on a scale of 1 to 100. The president's ranking stood at 52 on Friday, up two points from a day earlier. Republican candidate Mitt Romney's ranking, in contrast, stood at 9 on Friday.
TV audiences for the Obama and Romney speeches were similar.
Preliminary TV ratings for three main cable news outlets and the three main broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) showed 29.2 million TV viewers for the prime time hour on Thursday when Obama spoke, according to Nielsen data. The numbers could change and final data was being released later on Friday.
For Romney's speech last week, the final TV audience figure was 30.3 million.
(Reporting By Nichola Groom; Additional reporting by Jill Serjeant, Lisa Richwine and Ronald Grover in Los Angeles; Editing by David Storey)
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