Great news for us Twitter addicts. The first 140-characters-or-less debate between the Obama and McCain campaigns is ON. The forum is being moderated by none other than Ana Marie Cox from Time Magazine (and the founder of Wonkette, one of my favorite blogs). You can read about it on TechPresident.
This should be an interesting study of a medium shaping the message. In traditional debates, candidates and their surrogates often fall back on pre-approved campaign messages and talking points. Remember Hillary’s frequent monopolizing of TV debate time to talk about her health care plan? With the 140 character limit, Twitter participants (I THINK) will be forced to address issues more specifically and directly. We’ll see.
Obama will be represented by one of my CCT professors – Dr. Mike Nelson. Good luck Dr. N!
UPDATE: Dr. Nelson tells me the easiest way to follow the debate is by going to this Tweetboard.
The debate is an initiative of Personal Democracy Forum and is being launched in tandem with next week’s annual PdF conference, which is taking place Monday and Tuesday at Rose Hall in NYC.
We’re taking an open approach to this debate, as befits the medium where it is taking place. Each day, Ana is going to tweet a question or two, and Liz and Mike will tweet their answers. There is no set limit on answers–we’re letting Ana make the framework up as the debate evolves. Obviously, Mike and Liz will be working within Twitter’s 140-character limit for individual tweets, but they can link out or post multiple tweets as part of their answer to a question. It will be up to Ana to determine when a topic is done, and also whether to pull in comments or queries from other Twitter users who are following along.
Mike, Liz and Ana will be using their personal Twitter accounts, @mikenelson, @lizmair and @anamariecox, and we’ve also asked them to tag their responses with the hashtag #pdfdebate. We suggest that readers who want to follow along use a Twitter application like Summize.com to track the conversation.