Republican candidates will be participating in their third debate today, but this time they’ll have to interact using computers and smartphones. They will be participating in a Twitter debate, answering pertinent questions about how they would run the US in 140-characters or less.
As Politico reports, the TheTeaParty.net sponsored Twitter debate will see candidates Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich), Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum), Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson), Michele Bachmann (@TeamBachmann), Thad McCotter (@ThadMcCotter) and Herman Cain (@THEHermanCain) participate.
The political Twitter account @140TownHall will be facilitating the debate, managing the questions and responses on Twitter and collecting all of the tweets on their website 140townhall.com come debate time.
Beginning at 3PM ET, conservative commentator S.E. Cupp and conservative radio host Rusty Humphries will pose questions via Twitter to the participating GOP candidates, and they will answer in, at most, 2 or 3 tweets. Twitter users can also ask their own questions of the candidates by mentioning @140townhall.
This is not the first time politicians have taken to Twitter in an official way, answering questions and using it as a debate or town hall platform. Less than a month ago, President Obama answered questions on Twitter in the first-ever White House Town Hall, made possible by a partnership with Twitter itself. And Democratic Congresspeople took to Twitter in March to host their own town hall, answering questions about the budget and other financial issues.
If you’re interested in following the debate, you can follow @140TownHall’s Twitter feed beginning at 3PM ET, or log on to 140TownHall.com to see a live-stream of the questions and the candidate’s responses.
What do you think about these Twitter debates and town halls? Are they an effective way to encourage citizens to increase their political engagement and get political messages out to more people? Or are they just a publicity stunt? Let us know below!