Monday, September 24, 2007

Isn't Calling It a "Mashup" a Bit Much?

Today, Yahoo! announced the winner of the Democratic Candidate Mashup, its online-only debate. The viewers chose Barack Obama as the winner, with 35% of the vote. Hillary Clinton came in second at 31% - so the Big Two candidates still reigned in this poll.

The way the debate was set up for viewers online was intriguing. Users could choose the candidate they're interested in, and then select a topic for them to talk about: Iraq, health care, education, or a question from comedian Bill Maher.

This format allowed users to focus on what they want to see, instead of sitting through an entire debate with candidates and questions they might not be interested in. Although this makes the debates easy to personally navigate, it also encourages the viewers to keep the status quo in their opinions rather than exploring new ideas. While the internet is praised for its usability, it's also criticized for catering to people's short attention spans, and the same things could be said about the online debate.

Interestingly, Yahoo! reports that Clinton's clips were the most watched out of any of the candidates, even though she did not win the debate. Only 15% of people who viewed the clips voted in the poll. Obama not only won the debate itself, but also the youth demographic among those who voted, which I'm sure is no coincidence - since they're typically the most tech-savvy, they (or should I say we?) would probably be the most likely to vote in an online poll.


Leanne said...

I don't like the format of those debates. People should listen to all sides before they make an informed decision.

Although, I'm pretty sure the same problems could arise on TV or in print - viewers may tune out what they don't want to hear and readers may only read what they want to.

Amanda said...

That's true, that can happen in any media. Though I feel like the internet encourages it more, like in those debates.