But the first presidential debate prompted more than 10 million tweets, making it impossible to keep track of everything, much less find the most interesting online comments. Twitter is hosting an Event page focused around the hashtag #debates, which will help slow down the Twitter stream somewhat.
But to ensure a balance of the five types of essential tweets to follow on Thursday night, start a list and follow the accounts below.
1. President Obama’s campaign
Team Obama set up a dedicated Twitter account for this debate @OFAdebates, where they plan to “fact check and respond to Congressman Ryan's statements in real time,” according to the campaign. The same tweets will be mirrored at their existing account @TruthTeam2012.
2. Mitt Romney’s campaign
Team Romney will continue the online strategy that worked well for them last week during the first presidential debate. They will tweet from @RomneyResponse, post on their rapid response Tumblr, and also maintain a site dedicated to the debates at http://debates.mittromney.com, where the campaign has also provided a list of all of the Team Romney members available on Twitter.
Some of the sharpest commentary during the last debate came not from the pundits but from celebrities such as Rob Lowe and Michael Moore. But when it comes to gauging likely post-debate spin, prolific tweeters on the conservative side should include Karl Rove at @KarlRove and Red State’s Erick Erickson @EWErickson. On the progressive side, watch MSNBC host Krystal Ball @KrystalBall1 and Bill Maher @BillMaher, who has already promised to live-tweet Thursday’s debate.
4. Fact checkers
Most nonpartisan fact checkers don’t have the resources to live-tweet the debate, but PolitiFact is giving it a shot @politifact, as is FlackCheck.org in cooperation with MTV’s @mtvpowerof12.
Satirical newspaper The Onion announced “Biden will be taking over @OnionPolitics and will live-tweet his debate with Paul RyanPaul RyanReport: Trump eyes keeping a stake in business Cruz defends Trump's Taiwan call Why Dana Rohrabacher should be Trump's Secretary of State MORE.” That puts a fresh spin on The Onion’s previous live coverage. The newspaper also live-tweeted last week’s debate, joining Comedy Central’s active @Indecision account in defining real-time parody of the debate.
Expectations are so low for Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Regulation: Biz groups push reg reform in new Congress Dem urges Biden to run for DNC chair MORE tonight, if he doesn't fall in a manhole and miss the debate, he wins.— Indecision (@indecision) October 11, 2012
Honorable mention: Twitter’s team
Twitter will have a small team on the ground at this debate, just as they did last week in Denver, when the volume of tweets sent about the debate set a new Twitter record for political events. The Twitter Politics & Government team will be analyzing data into the small hours of the morning after the debate to find out which moments prompted traffic highs, but will also share real-time insight into the ongoing conversation @gov.