Facebook & YouTube General Election digital debates

Following the upcoming General Election televised leaders debates, it appears YouTube and Facebook also want a piece of the political action. The use of social media has really come to the fore for the first time in this election and is bringing a whole new audience to politics, which most people would say can only be a good thing.

The “digital debates” mean that for the first time, users of Facebook and YouTube will be able to ask questions of the three leaders of the main three political parties, and is aimed at more participation among the general public. The organiser’s goal is to attract more young people and people who’ve never taken part in a vote before, in this General Election.

A special Facebook application was set up this morning, which will enable web users to film or write questions for Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Other users will then vote for the questions they think are best. There will be 5 topics and 2 questions asked on each, and the 3 candidates will have to answer the same questions. The topics are the economy, health and education, law and order, foreign policy, and miscellaneous.

The party leaders will then produce video responses which will be posted on Facebook and YouTube on April 28 and it is hoped that the because of the more open-to-all format the questions will be more unusual and interesting than those which will be used on the televised debates, to be hosted on the BBC, Sky News and ITV.

Questions posted so far involve immigration, unemployment and the role of Britain in Europe. What do you think of the idea and what sort of questions might you ask? We’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Source: FT.com