AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

A Twitter Debate?

Posted by chadlymc on June 23, 2011

Being the lone Republican, I felt it necessary to talk about this article: http://mashable.com/2011/06/23/republican-presidential-candidates-to-participate-in-twitter-debate/ . That’s right, you heard it here first folks, the Republican Presidential candidates will be engaging in a Twitter debate on July 20th! I know what you’re thinking….they’re going to have a live debate….on Twitter? What?

Let me explain… fellow pachyderms (elephants….er, Republicans)  such as myself and anyone else who wants to observe will head to the website: 140TownHall.com (currently in demo mode) where we will see 3 columns. The lefthand column will display real-time stats such as: the amount of followers, retweets and mentions each candidate is receiving. The center column will show the debate live and unfiltered with the moderator’s comments in blue and the candidates’ in white. The righthand column will be  a tweet box so that the public can comment as the debate is happening. Unlike the Twitter debate in 2008 between Senator McCain and President Obama, the actual candidates will be tweeting their answers to the moderator. In 2008 surrogates for each candidate debated the issues on Twitter. They’ve even setup a backend on the website so that the candidates can practice tweeting responses prior to the debate.

This is also just the beginning of this type of technology as the promoter of this debate intends to host many town hall meetings via Twitter next year. They may not be about the presidential race, but they will be town halls.

This debate is being held in large part because the organizer has attempted to watch trending hashtags during previous debates and the debate and candidates are generally drowned out by observers and reporters tweeting their two cents on what is happening. So, he’s organizing a real debate on Twitter so that the candidates’ answers can be found easily and so can public tweets. Will it be a success? Only time will tell.

How freaking cool is this people? 140 characters to respond to debate questions by a real moderator. Can the candidates respond in such short bursts? Will this type of debate become more prevalent in future years? Will there be a Twitter debate next year between President Obama and the Republican (aka the head Pachyderm) nominee? Will people tune in to Twitter and 140TownHall.com to observe the debate? Many debates already have YouTube submissions from viewers, will the next debate be hosted by and available exclusively on YouTube?

What does this mean for social media and politics in the future? Your thoughts?

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