Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2014/ Twitter Debates

Twitter Debates

Thankfully, I still do not have a Twitter account, although I have been publicizing the all-candidates meetings using the one for the cult. I certainly have been reading a lot of Twitter, however; several times a day I have been refreshing the #wrvotes hashtag.

Here is a new thing this election: Twitter debates. The WLU Community Cord has organized a few Twitter debates using the hashtag #ccedebate, and Regional Council hopeful Karen Scian organized one using #wrtth . The organizers seem to think that these debates are great successes because some people ask questions, and they feel that conventional all-candidates meetings are not working because so few people show up.

I am not happy with Twitter debates, and I am not happy with the technological bubble many of these candidates live in. Here is a partial list of my objections:

What is the answer to this? My answer has been to compile resources so that even people not on Twitter can get information about the election: But that is insufficient as well, partially because I do not know how to get the word out effectively to others.

I believe that meatspace all-candidates meetings are superior to Twitter ones, which is why I have been trying to organize some. Publicity is hard work, and I am not good at it, so turnouts have been bad, but I am trying. I am also recording the audio from these forums, and posting the audio online so that people who did not know about the meetings can listen online (either by downloading MP3s onto their computers/phones/mp3 players or by streaming the audio).

Recording audio is not difficult. It requires a laptop, a microphone, Audacity and some cables. Any event that uses microphones and a mixing board is pretty close to being able to record good-quality audio for consumption later. Even sticking a laptop with a built-in microphone in front of the candidates is better than nothing.

Uploading audio is pretty easy as well, and offers free hosting for Creative-Commons licensed audio. Editing the audio is a little tricky, but even light editing is sufficient for most all-candidates meetings.

This is no panacea: people who do not have good Internet access will still struggle to get the audio files. But it is much much better than the Twitter approach, in my opinion. Even taking notes and posting textfiles of meatspace debates would be superior to either Twitter debates or livetweeting. But we have convinced ourselves that social networking solves everything, and those who don't do social networking don't matter.