Residents React to VP Debate Using Social Media

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By Justin Anderson

Old Town Lansing Times Staff Writer


The Vice Presidential debate evoked strong emotions Thursday from an increasingly social media savvy population in Old Town.

The debate between U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Paul Ryan took place Thursday, Oct. 11, and included topics like taxes, foreign policy, and Medicare.

Social Media’s Role

Social media is playing an increasingly larger role on the voting population in the current election.

As many people turn to social media sites to gather information about the candidates and their policies, it is becoming less important for people to be available to watch political debates precisely at the time they are aired, said Old Town visitor Robert Bergen.

“I didn’t watch the debate on Thursday when it was on,” Bergen said. “I watched the recap and the reviews on YouTube.”

Although social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are helping people gather and spread information about the candidates, many people are weary of trusting statistics and facts that are posted, Bergen said.

“Social media alone has not affected my views,” Bergen said. “If I see something that intrigues me I do my own research from more credible sources.”

Cravings Gourmet Popcorn owner Chad Jordan also used social media to follow the vice presidential debate.

“I followed the debate on Twitter, I didn’t watch it on TV,” Jordan said. “It really shows you who you follow, and that’s good and bad.”

Because President Obama didn’t do as well as people expected him too in the Presidential debate, Biden renewed hope and showed that this is still a close race, Jordan said.

The only problem with following the presidential race on social media is you only see the main points of debates or speeches, Jordan said.

“It’s like only seeing the highlights of a game, it’s nice but it’s better to see the whole thing,” Jordan said.

A Bunch of Stuff”

Whether you followed the debate on social media or watched it live, it was clear that both candidates were prepared.

Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Paul Ryan debate Thursday. The live feed on the Washington Post’s website allowed viewers to agree or disagree with what was currently being said.

At one point during the debate, Biden referred to Ryan’s facts as “a bunch of stuff.”

Thursday’s vice presidential debate often seemed more like an argument than a debate, with both candidates at times interrupting each other, said Aggie Mae’s Bakery and Deli employee Hannah Wicker.

“These debates are not for the hardcore political followers,” Wicker said. “They are designed to help inform the swing voters and convince them to vote in a certain way.”

“To inform and persuade swing voters Ryan won,” said Wicke

r.  “Biden’s attitude and charisma ruined it.”

One issue throughout the current election is gas prices. Information from, the graph shows average gas prices during the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration.

Ryan did a very good job conveying what he needed to say, Wicker said. The Democrats just attacked him for it, saying he got his facts wrong.

Biden’s socially awkward appearance in the debate was a common theme noticed by voters.

“Biden’s mannerisms, laughter and comments didn’t feel professional,” said Old Town visitor Andrew Freckelton

Freckelton, who has used social media sites to further advance his knowledge on the presidential election, was disappointed by the overall questions asked, and by the answers given by both candidates.

“The debate almost seems like a media sham,” Freckelton said.  “It’s a shame how our system is built, limiting the race to two parties, and it’s a shame that the media keeps third parties out of the debates.”


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