The current presidential election has been a smashing coming-out party for Twitter. The microblogging site that many initially panned because of its banal call to post — “What are you doing?” — and 140-character limit is turning out to be the new Web star of this campaign.
Not just for Web “early adopters,” Twitter has attracted new users with its newly launched election page, where they have been busily “tweeting” on the race for the White House and various topics related to it. Including Tina Fey, who does Sarah Palin better than Palin herself.
Mainstream media sites jumped on the Twitter bandwagon for last week’s first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, the perfect leadup to tonight’s highly anticipated vice presidential debate between Palin and Joe Biden.
Not everyone finds the Twitter election page all that useful. But the benefit to the up-and-coming service, which frequently crashed until recent technological upgrades were made, might just push it off the fringes of the social media margins. And help make social media even more influential politically.
What does it mean for journalism, and journalists not familiar with this instant-messaging phenomenon? It’s about the dynamic of conversation, and this radio outlet isn’t alone in encouraging its listeners to “tweet” during the veep debate. NPR is asking Twitter users to help fact-check the debate. (via DigiDave)
Here’s another good explainer on Twitter-style debate:
” . . . finally – the emergence of a participation based media eco-system is here. . . Because really, at the end of the day, this is the interactive TV world that we’ve always imagined. With people watching and interacting with both the community and the content.
“This is the era of Twitter TV. And it’s a good thing.”
On the vanguard of “Twitter TV,” at least when it comes to the elections, is C-SPAN. Rarely have the words “C-SPAN” and “wet dream” gone together in the same headline (unless you’re a fan of presidential gravesites), but the cable public affairs network’s debate hub site has become the prime destination for “Political Social Media Web 2.0 Uber Geeks.” And a few alleged humans, including myself.
In addition to a live Twitter feed, the C-SPAN debate hub features live video and simaltaneous running transcript and running blog coverage. That’s where I plan to watch, and tweet, a little. You can follow me on Twitter here.
All of these efforts are purely experimental, but tremendously exciting if you’re interested in new ways of doing the news. If you’re not on Twitter, or have been sour to the idea, here’s the perfect chance to see it put to passionate use by political junkies and interested citizens. All you have to do is sign up, and it’s for free.