September 26, 2008, 6PM PST: Presidential candidates debate both domestic policy and foreign relations at the University of Mississippi (details available from the commission of Presidential Debate). Many of us were not simply passive listeners, but rather involved in active discussions (backstory here).
Like many other web socialites, I was glued to Twitter’s election portal. The portal created a large chatroom-like environment which allowed the debate audience connect with each other as they watch the would-be Presidents perform for their benefit. It’s particularly fun to watch the wise-crack tweeters:
including those with a suspiciously familiar alter-ego:
Several bloggers suggested using Twitter to score the debate on an ongoing basis rather than just interacting. The idea is simple: watching a presidential debate over the span of 1-2 hours can be difficult, so score as you go using Twitter by adding 1, 2, or 3 points for meaningful contributions. Here’s an example of tweetscoring:
Adding up the points recorded during the debate yields an numerical score of admittedly subjective impressions:
What’s important here is not that Obama performed three times better (drawing that conclusion would be incontrovertibly misleading). While impressions are of course subjective, it’s important to note tweetscoring eliminates the tendency to more heavily weight the last few moments of debate over the already-forgotten beginning moments. I noticed McCain scored more points towards the end than Obama, which might have otherwise left me with the impression that both candidates performed well. Indeed my subjective feeling influenced by McCain’s strong ending performance was at odds with the tweetscoring result.
Tweetscoring turned out to be a fun (if not to be taken too seriously) exercise for me as a voter. For campaign managers, this a previously unthinkable paradigm shift to say the least.