UK Election Debates Goes Digital With Facebook & YouTubeWritten by Rob Nichols on April 16, 2010 · Filed under Internet
Social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube it seems are becoming an integral part of millions of people’s daily lives. Now though, such sites have been placed at the forefront of the ongoing election campaigns as all three of the main party leaders will be using modern day communication methods to respond to questions and debates from eager voters.
It is the first time in the UK that such methods have been used by political parties in the run up to the election and when coupled with the three live TV debates that the party leaders have agreed to participate in prior to the election, it certainly seems that this election has brought a lot more tech into politics, if nothing else.
So how will it work? Well, currently social networking sites are primarily aimed at communication between users whether that be via status updates or video streaming. This theme will remain constant as the party leaders will each respond to ten questions plucked evenly from five topics: the economy, health and education, foreign policy, law and order and miscellaneous. The questions will be posed by users of the sites and the recordings will of course be pre-prepared by the politicians and the video broadcasts should last around a minute.
Speaking about the online debate, Facebook’s Director of Policy Richard Allan said: “The dawn of the digital election this year is a transformative moment for democracy in Britain. By allowing voters to cross-examine their leaders, these digital debates will put the voters firmly in charge. This marks a decisive shift away from the constraints of top-down traditional media.”
Facebook’s involvement in the election campaign is already evident as they have posted a number of reminders to UK users encouraging them to register to vote on the 6th May. The aim of this social networking integration into the election campaign is that it is likely to attract questions and involvement from unusual sources, particularly in young people. In addition to that, it is hope by pre-recording the debates and keeping the leaders separated, will help to avoid the constant interruptions and shouting down of rival candidates which dominate the live TV debates.
It is not the first time however, that social networking has been used by MP’s. On several occasions MP’s have attempted to familiarise themselves with the ins and outs of the web by communicating with their constituents and filming messages to be broadcast on YouTube. It is something which has occurred and become popular amongst politicians across the pond in the USA.
Allowing users to cross examine the party leaders without attending specific events is something which will definitely attract a lot more attention from the public. If successful it would be nice to see a lot more people interested and more importantly aware of what’s happening in politics, perhaps they’ll be questioned about the recent Digital Economy Bill that was passed rather quickly. If you’re interested in joining the Facebook and YouTube discussion, you can post your questions for the Digital Debate by following these links to Facebook and YouTube.
Via – Wired