MySpace and the Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD), have teamed up to create MyDebates, an interactive site where users can “virally engage in the political process.” The site is part of MySpace Impact, a pro bono space where people can find volunteer and fundraising opportunities, communicate with non-profits, or register to vote. "MyDebates.org will enable Americans to make the most of information presented during the debates, and personalize their experience and engage with the candidates and other voters in a groundbreaking manner," said Lee Brenner, executive producer of political programming at MySpace.
MyDebates opens with a “quiz” on issues like health care, Iraq, education, and social security, which acts as a quick intro to McCain and Obama’s stances on each. It provides a lot of searchable stats on which way different states and demographics are leaning on these issues.
The site will feature live streams of the debates on September 26th and October 2nd, 7th, and 15th. The site will also encourage citizen participation: it will begin accepting question submissions September 25th for the October 7th Town Hall debate moderated by Tom Brokaw.
The debates will stream live on MyDebate; as well, users can embed a viewer that streams the debates into their blogs or social networking profiles. During the debates, icons will appear when key issues are discussed, and real-time polls will drive forums. It’s like ESPN’s Gamecast, but for public speaking instead of sports.
The CPD determined MyDebates, “the most effective way for new media to intersect with the presidential debates.” After having researched potential ways to 2.0 the debates, the CPD decided teaming with MySpace was the best way “to enhance the educational value of the televised debates, engage new audiences, and facilitate ongoing online conversation throughout the general election period.”
MySpace is the first internet company the CPD has teamed with.