Sunday, October 21, 2007

10 Questions - a solution to the YouTube debate

While scanning through Wired Magazine today, I noticed a story titled "Web 2.0 Project Taps 'Wisdom of the Crowd' to Probe Presidential Contenders" and thought it may be of interest for our social media class.

Lately we've been talking about the use of social media tools such as Facebook, MySpace and personal blogs by presidential candidates. We also spent some time discussing the YouTube debate and how much of a failure this was because the candidates couldn't or rather wouldn't take the questions seriously.

This was not only a failure for the candidates but also for the American voters. The candidates blew an awesome opportunity to show that they really care about America's citizens and the voters still didn't get the questions they were really concerned about answered.

This is attempt number two. Since the first one was such a failure and there was so much controversy about how the videos were chosen, a new effort called 10 questions was launched Wednesday.

The way this works is very similar to the original YouTube debate. People can submit videos of themselves asking their questions but instead of someone going through the questions and choosing which ones would be best for the candidate to answer, people can go to the 10 Questions Website and vote to move the video up or down a list in a kind of Digg-like tool. The top ten videos will be presented to each candidate completely unedited. The Website also offers its feedback on whether the candidate actually answered the question asked.

Here is the top video as of Sunday evening:

If you were to submit a video what would you ask and how would you present yourself. A big problem with the first debate was that people's use of creativity, as we saw in class with the snowman question, seemed to turn the candidates off to actually answering the question. Do you think it's ok to be a little creative to get your question across or do you think a serious answer deserves a serious question?


Christina said...

Social media tools make presidential candidates more accesible than ever, and this gives our generation unique insight into the thoughts and stances of each politician. However, the issues presidential candidates face in this day in age are, for the most part, extremely serious.

If we expect politicians to take social media tools seriously and give serious responses then we must be professional in the manner in which we ask questions.

Creativity is important in many circumstances, but it doesn't make sense to make light of issues, such as the war on terrorism or the state of the environment, about which voters want serious answers.

Tim Anderson said...

I completely agree with Christina in regards to the importance of professionalism when addressing candidates.
A question directed at an individual who could potentially be making decisions regarding war, border control and weapons of mass destruction needs to be done in a respectful manner. Let's be honest, a talking snowman asking a question about global warming is a little ridiculous.
Flippantly answering a question that was posed by talking snow creature is not "blowing an awesome opportunity to show that they really care about America's citizens", especially when the majority of those who are of voting age probably don't know how to operate a computer, much less watch political videos on YouTube.
Hopefully the videos that are selected with this new initiative will be more appropriate, and in turn, result in more appropriate, informative responses.

Gentry said...

I have to say that I disagree with Christina's and Tim's comments. I think that one reason the debates were not a success was the fact that the candidates did not understand the social media tool and the way the debate was set up. YouTube specifically said that the most creative entries would win. The candidates should have been prepared for the interesting ways the questions were asked and still made good, solid replies.

In regards to addressing the politicians with professionalism, they are going to be the head of our nation which means they are going to have to deal with cultures and people that are different from them. The social media culture is different; we mix humor, irony and creativity with truth and seriousness. If the candidates cannot take the social media culture seriously how are they going to handle other problems and cultures they are confronted with?

Ultimately, the YouTube debates were an attempt to get people who would not watch the rather boring debates on t.v. to watch interesting debates online. The information should be just as valuable, but why not make it amusing by having a snow creature worry about the environment? Everyone says that people are not interested in politics - do not bash attempts to do something different to get people involved.