GOP Debate: Donald Trump and Who Really Won the Conversation (Online and on TV)

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Donald Trump

The frontrunner owned the headlines … but did he win the night? This look at social media and blogs points to more important metrics … like which candidate grew their Twitter following by 10 percent?

A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Donald Trump's defiance of moderator Megyn Kelly at the GOP debate Aug. 6 was enough to help him emerge victorious — at least online. He topped Twitter and Facebook lists of most-mentioned candidates and held on to a 40 percent share of the conversation (more than 957,000 of 2.4 million total mentions) across platforms, according to Way to Blue. The next-closest contender was neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who snagged a 10 percent share of the online mentions. Meanwhile, Chris Christie was the least-mentioned of the candidates on both Twitter and Facebook and was tied with Mike Huckabee and Ohio Gov. John Kasich for lowest share of the conversation. 

Although several outlets dubbed Marco Rubio the winner, Carson and Kasich both grew their Twitter followers by nearly 10 percent the day after the debate. Rand Paul grew his following by less than 1 percent, though he has more overall followers than both aforementioned candidates. 

Men and women were split over their preferred candidate. Per Way to Blue, Carson received 40 percent of the female share of voice online, while Paul and Christie each had 68 percent of the male share of voice.

The top moment from the night on both Twitter and Facebook was when Christie and Paul went head-to-head. On Facebook, the top issue discussed was Immigration.