We don't have a precise definition of what qualifies when Twitter is described as "blowing up." That description has been variously applied to all kinds of events that wouldn't move the real-world seismograph. Such was the case during the official Republican response to the State of the Union address, delivered by Marco Rubio. The moment that spawned a flood of Twitter traffic came as the apparently parched Florida senator halted his speech for a moment. He then ducked to grab and drink from a small bottle of water, just out of camera range.
While at one level the reactions are trivial, it was clear that some people watching the speech thought he appeared overly nervous. Given the amount of chatter about the possibilities of a Rubio run for the Republican nomination in the next presidential election cycle, one can be sure his performances will continue to garner more than just casual observation.
Twitter itself was attempting to apply a metric to the water grab. Through the Twitter handle @gov, it noted a "tweets-per-minute peak" of 9,200 at 10:43 p.m. eastern.
Showing that he, too, has a sense of humor, Rubio tweeted a photo of the Poland Spring water bottle shortly after the speech.
Even Howard Mortman, communications director for C-SPAN, got in the action. Mortman tweeted a link to C-SPAN's online video archive from a Rubio appearance last summer where he was stumping for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Interrupting himself to take a drink, Rubio is seen asking the Las Vegas group to continue to clap, so he could take a hydration break.
Meantime, the president and Congress are left to work on truly weighty matters, including the budget and national security. In the end, Rubio's thirsty moment probably won't amount to a drop in the proverbial bucket.