Over 200,000 people attended Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" in person at the National Mall in Washington D.C. Now a new study has been released showing that over 500,000 "virtually" attended the rally through the internet. According to Zachary Sniderman at the website Mashable, 570,000 watched Stewart's rally through a live stream at ComedyCentral.com or via their phones. That number does not include the thousand of others who watched the rally through other websites such as MSNBC and CSPAN.
It was fitting that so many people watched the rally online since the movement to hold a rally actually began on a website called Reddit. The original idea behind the rally involved Stepehen Colbert hosting a "Restoring Truthiness" rally in response to Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally. The concept caught fire and soon spread to Facebook and other websites. Eventually Stewart not only adopted the idea, but made it more of his own the with the "sanity" theme.
Just as the movement began on the internet, it also was completed on the web. Besided the 570,000 who watched the rally online through Comedy Central the rally also produced the following social media usage.
- Over 800,000 people visited the rally website on the day of the event.
- Over 117,000 smart phone applications were downloaded dealing with the rally.
- Over 35,000 photos of the rally were uploaded on sites like Flickr.
- Over 120,000 tweets sent dealing with the rally.
Those impressive numbers are hardly a surprise. Much of Stewart audience is made up of relatively young, tech-savvy people who were going to find a way to "attend" the rally even if they could noy physically be there. The number re-emphasize the relative success of the rally, and the growing importance of social media in promoting these type of events.