In the continuing rush to make the micro-blogging service Twitter and 'tweeting' (the act of sending a message via Twitter) vital and relevant, the service has made several attempts to jump headlong into the presidential election. The latest happened last week with the creation of a Twitter Election 2008 page that filters relevant tweets into a single feed.
But the real potential seemed to stem from Twitter's partnership with independent cable network Current TV (founded by Al Gore), and last Friday's "Hack The Debate" event. The plan was for users to post Twitter updates during the first presidential debate, and selected tweets would be flashed on screen over a live feed of the debate -- the intended result being a kind of power-to-the-people liveblogging free-for-all.
And while the logistics of feeding comments from web to TV seemed to go off without a hitch (see an excerpt below), the question still remains: did these 140-character commentaries add any valuable perspective to the debate, beyond say, the type of banter you might overhear sitting in a crowded bar? Valleywag quoted social media consultant Shel Israel's impression as: "just a bunch of young people making shallow comments." One more issue to consider before dubbing Hack the Debate a groundbreaking success: Shouldn't voters be giving their full attention to the debate itself rather than simultaneous, off-the-cuff commentary?