Saturday, September 27, 2008

Flat Liner

During the presidential debates, there were a number of attempts to employ ubiquitous computing technologies and real-time data visualizations to create a more exciting political spectacle than what many television producers assumed would be the reaction to the traditional oratorial situation alone. However, as "CNN Debate Audience Reaction Meter: Watching Approval Ratings In Real Time During Presidential Debates" explains, audiences often had difficulty interpreting the results. Frequently, in fact, audience reactions from the mix of Democrats, Republicans, and independent voters canceled each other out, so CNN viewers saw nothing more than a flat line for much of the broadcast.

Of course, now that live blogging has also become the norm for just-in-time political reception, a number of people have begun to skewer the genre during this election season. For example, Virtualpolitik pals Andy Borowitz and Mark Bell offered their own tongue-in-cheek real-time reactions to the debate. Borowitz presented the parodic Levi Johnston Liveblogs the Debate in honor of the would-be vice presidential son-in-law responsible for the out-of-wedlock pregnancy of the candidate's daughter. In contrast, Bell kept it a little more real by using Twitter to record how the four six-year-old children in his household responded to the debate.

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