Youtube and CNN: Making TV Interactive

So, we watched the Democratic debate hosted by CNN and Youtube streamed LIVE over the internet. Candidates were asked questions from Americans via video uploaded onto Youtube. Entrants were allowed to create a video under 30 seconds in length which could pose a question to a specific candidate or the whole group. An added kick was that the entrants could personalize the video in true Youtube culture fashion: the result of which were the standard webcam video of the questioner or even a more creative approach of song or animation. One such question was and animation of a snowman that was used to kick off the debate on global warming…which I thought was actually counterproductive in that it took what should have been a serious subject and made it seem more trivial (didn’t Kucinich yell something about making sure our snowmen had a future?). I stray though…this debate allowed for Americans to pose questions to candidates without having to travel to South Carolina. Being able to actually personalize your questions was a huge step as well. If someone had handed me a microphone to ask a candidate a question and I pulled out a guitar and started singing, officials would have grabbed it back, broken my guitar and shown me the door. With youtube, this sort of thing was ENCOURAGED and because of it, I’ll bet people watching will remember the questions because of their personality and the answers it received. There was one video in particular where the questioner was able to point out the flags of his grandfather, father and oldest son that had lain on their coffins before asking what the candidates were going to do to insure that his youngest son wouldn’t have to die in war. This makes questions that much more powerful and, once again, memorable.