Twitter and the Presidential Election

February 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

TV and Twitter tend to coincide. Whether it’s during the Superbowl, the Grammys or the newest episode of The Bachelor people are tweeting while watching. This also means it’s very likely that people are voicing their opinions via Twitter during the presidential debates.

According to TechCrunch, South Carolina tested this theory with their Republican debate by having viewers tweet the candidate’s name and #dodge or #answer in regards to how well the candidate answered his or her questions. Participants were asked to tweet during breaks and after the debate. The results were displayed in a graph showing how well the public believed the candidates answered their debate questions. The only problem? Fox didn’t show the candidates the results in real time because, “influencers and technologists might be overrepresented.”

If you’re not going to show the candidates what people are saying in real time, then what’s the point of creating a real time, online conversation about the debate? If I thought candidates were “dodging” questions, I would want to give them a chance to backpedal and fully answer the question.

So, what if our tweets were broadcast in real time to the candidates during the presidential debate? Obviously there would need to be someone monitoring the chat or chaos would ensue, but that would at least answer some of our key questions. At minimum, the candidates would know when the people watching the debate believe they are not fully answering the questions presented. Real time opinions broadcast to the candidates might even improve the transparency of this year’s presidential election. Food for thought.

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