VP Debate Spurs Searches Like “Shirtless” (Ryan), “Laughing” (Biden) & Other “Malarkey”

There’s a kind of Pavlovian response that happens with major national events in the U.S. (and probably elsewhere): internet users taking to the web to comment on and/or learn more about what they’re experiencing.

As expected, conversation spiked on social networking sites during the Vice Presidential debate last night. Twitter says there were 3.5 million tweets just during the debate itself, and another half-million before and after. (Update: For more on the social aspect of last night’s debate, see my Marketing Land article: Red State, Blue State: The Social Network VP Debate Divide Shown In Map Form.)

There was also a lot of search activity, and the search queries varied from the serious to the silly. On its Google+ page, the Google Politics & Elections team shared several charts about the debate, including the top overall search terms for each VP candidate and the top rising search terms.



The “malarkey” mention there was mirrored in search activity on Yahoo. Phrases like [malarkey], [malarkey definition] and [what is malarkey] all jumped into the top searches on Yahoo last night. Yahoo even broke down some demographics about who was searching for “malarkey” — mainly older searchers, but seven percent of searches were from the under-18 set. And the top states that sought to learn about “malarkey” on Yahoo were California, Wisconsin (Ryan’s home state), North Carolina, Virginia and Massachusetts.


Yahoo’s search team has been tweeting some of the other search activity that it’s seen about the debate — some serious and some silly.





Google also took a look this morning at the debate moments that produced the most search activity — Biden had the biggest single-spike, but searches related to Ryan were generally higher throughout the debate.


Who won the debate? That depends who you ask. Using its Google Consumer Surveys product, Google says 44 percent thought Biden won. CNN, on the other hand, says that its poll favored Ryan 48 percent to 44 percent over Biden.

No word yet on how many think political polls are a bunch of malarkey….

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Features: Analysis | Search & Society: General | Stats: Search Behavior


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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