The time has come to update political debates for the digital age. Given the capabilities of todayâ€™s interactive media, itâ€™s now possible to continue the conversation started in television debates and newspaper coverage. Using the Internet and online video, we can:
- Include ongoing public input on questions of interest;
- Give candidates more time and space to give thoughtful responses; and
- Enable voters to reward politicians with recognition when they choose substance over a sound bite.
If, according to the old saying, â€œall politics is local,â€ then the time has come to demonstrate that new, interactive media can invigorate local civic engagement around elections â€” moving from interest to involvement, from spectacle to civil society.
Personal Democracy Forum, with support from The Knight Foundation and in partnership with Google and YouTube, has created a platform to facilitate that involvement. It's called 10Questions. Here's how it works:
- Citizens can post text questions or video questions through YouTube for candidates in the 2010 midterm elections; each race has its own page where we aggregate questions posed for candidates in that specific race.
- Using Google technology, visitors to that site can vote questions up and down. After a set period of public engagement, the 10 top- voted questions in each race are posed to the candidates.
- Candidates then have the opportunity to post video responses, and voters rate those responses for completeness, directness, depth and substance â€” criteria that are sometimes hard to get out of politicians in the rapid-fire context of a live debate.
For the full story on the history and evolution of 10Questions, check out: 10Questions.com: Putting Voters in the Driver's Seat in 2010