Current TV Teams with Twitter to Make Presidential Debates Interactive

Current TV has teamed with Twitter on a project called "Hack the Debate," that will add interactivity to all the presidential and vice-presidential debates. (Note: Current TV, which is targeted at the 18-34 demographic, is the brainchild of former US vice president, Al Gore, who serves as the chairman of its parent company, INdTV Holdings, and his business partner, Joel Hyatt, who serves as INdTV's CEO. It features short-form informational programs, dubbed "pods," around 30% of which are contributed by viewers via its Web site: Current terms this content "VC2" for "viewer-created content." The channel, which pays for all user-generated content that it airs, also invites its viewers to help determine its programming schedule by voting for video submissions on its site.) Starting with last Friday's presidential debate, "Hack the Debate" invites viewers to send in comments as Twitter messages (known as "tweets"), which are then displayed as an overlay over Current TV's live debate feed. In addition, each "Hack the Debate" presentation will stream live on Current.com. Current TV and Twitter say they will "actively search" tweets for compelling debate-related comments; however, viewers can improve the chances of their comments being noticed and displayed by using "#current" in their tweets. They can also ask questions about participating via Twitter by directing questions to "@current." "The debate stage is only set for two candidates, but Current was founded to make room for millions of participants," Joel Hyatt said in a prepared statement. "We're thrilled to work with Twitter and take advantage of their extremely powerful communication platform, giving people a chance to speak directly to Current's nationwide television audience."