Monday, September 26, 2016

Live streaming of football games and presidential debates, version 1.0

I would also be willing to pay for interaction -- perhaps asking a question or making a comment of my own.

There has been a lot of discussion of the appropriate role of moderators in the presidential debates -- should they challenge the debater's statements if they are false or simply ask questions and let the candidates challenge each other? That will become a moot point in the era of live-streaming on the Internet.

Twitter is streaming Thursday night football games -- you see the game as well as the stream of tweets. I reviewed the experience and concluded that there were too many commercials and that I wanted to be able to filter the tweets. I am not interested in the comments of a million football fans, but would like to be able to follow the live-stream comments of experts like a group of professional football players, sports writers, Las Vegas odds-makers, etc.

Now, let's apply that to the live streaming of a presidential debate. (Note that Twitter is streaming the debates).

There will be plenty of commentary in the tweet stream accompanying Twitter's video and the audience will fact-check the debaters regardless of what the moderator does. But, as in a football game, I don't want to see tweets from every partisan viewer, I want to see informed, factual commentary.

If I could watch the streaming comments of a relatively small group of experts along with the video stream, I would not care whether the moderator challenges the debater's statements or just reads questions and keeps the speakers on schedule. I would also be willing to pay for interaction -- perhaps asking a question or making a comment of my own.

The asynchronous Internet has changed political campaigns just as newspapers, radio and television did. Now we have a new medium -- live streaming over the Internet.

Early movies, like those shown below, were made by filming stage plays. Similarly, today's live coverage of football and presidential debates is just a starting point. Adding expert or crowd-sourced fact checking and commentary would only be a small variation on what Twitter has already done with football games. There will be more changes as the medium co-evolves along with our culture and education system.

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