Political Engagement through eCitizenship: Tweeting-up the #ADPdebate
By Mary Sorenson, Graduate Student and Instructor, Illinois State University
Last Wednesday night, over 275 engaged ADP Twitter users (students, faculty members, institutions and organizations) brought the Presidential debate to life in the Twittersphere. Embedded within 1,391 short and sweet tweets with the #ADPdebate hashtag were thoughtful yet humorous messages that shed light on the 2012 election. Supporters of both Romney and Obama contributed to the conversation, creating a rich dialogue that enhanced the 90 minute live, televised debate on domestic policy.
While campuses across the country held viewing parties and encouraged the use of the hashtag, users were still able to contribute from a number of private locations. Even before news sources were discussing the “winner” of the debate, Twitter users were posing this very question and engaging in open discussion with one another.
In addition to the #ADPdebate hashtag, institutions such as Illinois State University, Emporia State University (Kans.), Indiana State University, Kennesaw State University (Ga.), University of Nebraska-Omaha, and Weber State University (Utah) linked students and faculty together with unique institution hashtags. A communication course at Indiana State University even used this function to connect students and engage in debate discussions while the course instructor acted as a moderator.
Various groups engaged in intellectual conversations inclusive of questions and commentary while continuing to embrace the lighthearted nature of the social medium. Humorous tweets brought users together as they were able to share jokes about Big Bird, Jim Lehrer, and the 2-minute rule…just to name a few. In the midst of critique, disagreement, and questioning, users across the nation were able to find common ground in 140 characters or less.
With the increased popularity of social media, college instructors are now able to communicate with students outside of the
classroom in order to extend academic conversations. With regard to civic engagement, Twitter has the ability to provide students with a voice that otherwise may not be heard within the confines of the classroom. This project allows students to become politically engaged on a familiar forum, providing them with a wealth of knowledge and opinions that may help shape informed decisions for the upcoming election.
Many students in the millennial generation utilize social media as a way to research and stay informed not only with popular culture but also local and national news. By harnessing social media and using them as an educational resource, instructors can take the opportunity to change the question from if social media are being used in the classroom to how they are being used.
As the debate series continues, the American Democracy Project will continue the live Tweet-ups and encourage even more users to join the conversation. As Thursday night approaches and Paul Ryan joins Joe Biden for the Vice-Presidential Debate, #ADPdebate will engage users in discussion that becomes more than merely a public commentary. While showcasing bipartisan respect, users across the nation will move closer to Election Day, one tweet at a time.
VP Debate: Thurs. October 11 at 9PM Eastern
Join ADP as we Tweet-up the Vice Presidential Debate this Thursday, October 11 from 9 – 10:30 PM Eastern Time. The VP Debate is being hosted by Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is on foreign and domestic policy. Martha Raddatz, ABC News’ Cheif Foreign Correspondent will moderate. The debate will be divided into 9 segments of approximately 10 minutes each.
TV Channels – Each debate will be broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as all cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC among others.
Live Stream – Each debate will be streamed live online. Check back here for the live stream: http://www.2012presidentialelectionnews.com/2012-debate-schedule/2012-presidential-debate-schedule/
View previous post with more details about joining the #ADPdebate Twitter conversations, go here.
Learn more about Twitter and the first Presidential Debate — which was the most Tweeted about political event in U.S. history — here.