Jan 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Amanda Gorman steals the show on Inauguration Day

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Poet Amanda Gorman by far generated the most average interactions on social media on Inauguration Day, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: Gorman's recital of "The Hill We Climb" represented a standout, double-take moment for viewers who otherwise witnessed a scripted, stagecrafted affair.

The four most-viral stories from inauguration day all were about Gorman.

  • The biggest one, from NPR, generated 1.74m interactions on social media (likes, comments, shares) — nearly twice as many as the next biggest piece.
  • The 5th-biggest story was about Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman escorting Harris to the ceremony. Joe Biden being sworn in was number 6.
  • Bernie Sanders also edged out some of the biggest acts of the day, as his slouchy pose paired with exotic mittens instantly became a viral meme.

The big picture: The inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the DNC and Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

  • During the pandemic, crowds can't be relied on to provide the energy and footage, so the moments have to be choreographed from the event organizers.

By the numbers: Gorman's 4,143 interactions per article were nearly 3x higher than the Obamas, who were second.

  • For total interactions, which accounts for volume of coverage, Biden was tops at 25.4 million, while Trump was second at 16.7m.

The bottom line: Gorman, 22, posted behind-the-scenes footage from her experience on her social media channels, and shared her excitement about her viral success.

  • In less than 24 hours, Gorman's Instagram follower count rose from 56k to 2.5m.
  • Instagram helped to increase her discovery by posting a photo of Gorman and linking out to her profile to its 384 million followers.
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