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The 2012 campaign in 27 tweets

By Dorrine Mendoza, CNN
updated 1:35 AM EST, Wed November 7, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 2012 has been called the Year of the Twitter Election
  • More than 10 million tweets were sent during the first presidential debate
  • At least six "Big Bird" accounts still exist

(CNN) -- Although 2012 was championed as the year of "The Twitter Election," the Twitterverse turned out to be a cold, cruel place.

Mistakes became memes. Blunders gave birth to parody accounts with huge followings. And at least in Paul Ryan's case, good looks became a talking point.

Key moments in the campaign were documented by the creation of Twitter parody accounts, and many were not amused.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that sentiment on social media of both presidential candidates remained consistently negative even if mainstream media coverage was positive.

The study was conducted during a one-month period that included both the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

"The differences raise a question about whether social media may make what Americans hear about politics more negative and may make it harder for political actors, particularly those trailing in the polls, to alter the media narrative," the study said.

Humor has always played a fundamental role in politics, at times creating serious commentary around important topics. Comedians Jon Stewart and Chris Rock have proved this for years. "Saturday Night Live" thrives during election seasons. Twitter, however, allows practically anyone to rise from obscurity to online comedic celebrity.

The question then becomes, does it matter?

The landscape where social media, politics and humor converge is an area of burgeoning research. Kristen Landreville, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Wyoming, has studied the effects of political humor.

The 25 funniest tweets of the first debate

She found that programs like "The Daily Show" influence people's knowledge and cynicism about politics and their use of other political media.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, order food at a Wendy's restuarant in Richmond Heights, Ohio, on Tuesday. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, order food at a Wendy's restuarant in Richmond Heights, Ohio, on Tuesday.
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