How Live Streaming The Presidential Debates Is Bringing Democracy To People's Fingertips

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: A campaigner works on his laptop as the 'Stop Trump' campaign bus takes to the road, urging American expats across the UK to register and vote in the US election in November, on September 21, 2016 in London, England. Millions of Americans live abroad (over 220,000 in the UK), but only 12% of them vote, and the deadline to register is fast approaching in some US states. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Source: Leon Neal/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Effectively bringing democracy to people's fingertips, it's safe to say live streaming the Presidential debates is definitely a step in the right direction toward a more open and informed society. Two old media institutions and new media companies announced that they would offer collaborative coverage and content delivery of the three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate. Bloomberg News and Twitter — who represent one of the two collaborations — will be partnering to deliver Bloomberg's coverage and analysis on Twitter's platform. 

"Livestreaming the debates with Bloomberg combined with the live commentary and conversation on Twitter will create a one-screen experience at the center of the action unlike any other," said Anthony Noto, Twitter's chief financial officer, in a joint press release with Bloomberg announcing their partnership. 

In addition, ABC News will be partnering with Facebook Live to offer their take on the presidential debates. According to Variety, ABC will be offering ad-free content while the network experiments with new kinds of coverage possibilities using Facebook Live. "As we move further into the election cycle, there continues to be a voracious appetite for live content and we know many users turn to Facebook to engage and participate in the conversation," said Colby Smith, vice president of digital for ABC News.

[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/CNN/status/778584820813271040]

Bringing the presidential debates out of the clutches of the traditional media networks and into the hands of the users of social media platforms is a no-brainer when it comes to offering more avenues for participation in the democratic process. Not everyone has regular access to a television nowadays (and with all that our smartphones and computers can do, who even cares?), and traditional media outlets which used to be in the business of producing and distributing news now have to come to where the consumers are and engage with them on their terms.

We've come a long way, from the ABC town-hall-style debate in 1992 (in which the presidential candidates were asked a host of questions by members of the public instead of news professionals), to having heritage media companies partner with social media startups to deliver important political content. But by giving the public options and making a cross-platform event out of these debates, American voters of all stripes will have an unprecedented array of options at their fingertips. And hopefully, it will make becoming an informed citizen that much easier. 

With an election as contentious as this one, there is sure to be a lot of interest in watching what the two mainstream candidates have to say to each other. The first debate will kick off Monday, September 26, and will air for approximately 90 minutes.

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