Cold Takes: A Very Special Episode of Twitter

So, the Debate last night. Content aside, I thought it was an amazing showcase for Twitter. Which is
September 27 - Issue #13 - View online
The Happy Hour
So, the Debate last night. Content aside, I thought it was an amazing showcase for Twitter. Which is interesting, given that Twitter is apparently thinking about selling itself right now. What great timing for the company.
Watching a debate – especially this debate – is good content by itself. But watching it with Twitter is pure entertainment. And useful. Not only is the snark amazing, but the real-time fact-checking aspect is fantastic. It’s so good that it’s hard to imagine watching a debate without Twitter. 
Perhaps this one was better than usual because of the Trump aspect. (Actually, I’m sure of that.) Or perhaps it’s because of the (smart) deal Twitter struck to stream the debate live on their service. But I can’t say enough good things. (Though the tweet + debate stream still leaves much to be desired – this needs to be much more personally curated with either experts and/or people you follow. Right now, it’s just seemingly rando tweets. A fun novelty, but it gets old quickly.)
And when you contrast the situation last night on Twitter with that of Facebook, it’s almost comical. My entire Twitter stream seemed to be actively engaged and interested in the debate. Switching over to Facebook, it was all puppy dogs and ice cream. Literally on the dogs, figuratively on the ice cream. If anything, I think it showcased that Facebook may be too good on the algorithm side. Yes, I normally like puppy dogs and ice cream, but last night was an exception. I wanted to see debate content. It’s hard for algorithms to know this without precedent…
Anyway, as I tweeted last night, I wonder if this makes Facebook think about making a bid for Twitter as well. Probably not. And I’m sure there are a thousand reasons why it ultimately doesn’t make any sort of business sense for them. But if they truly care about live content, as they seem to, Twitter mopped the floor with them last night.
(Disclosure: I hold a small amount of Twitter stock. Though certainly not enough for me to care who they sell to, or if they even sell, honestly.)

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(Lynne Sladky/Associated Press)
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