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Twitter, FriendFeed and political convention season

Rncdnc I'm dragging. I'll admit, I love the Olympics and the broadcasts until midnight are killing me. I thought last night how I'm happy they're almost done, until I quickly realized that I'll get no respite next week or the week after.  Presidential convention season starts and the prime time broadcasts will be packed.

But the season will be different for me this time around. My information consumption will go far beyond the networks' broadcasts, NPR and the like. I'm looking forward the effect that Twitter and FriendFeed will have. Many will remember the drama at last March's South by Southwest Interactive caused by the Twitter-induced audience revolt during the keynote session led by Sarah Lacy of BusinessWeek. This became a bigger story than what was happening on stage. Could Twitter (and other microsharing tools) have the same effect at the Democratic or Republican National Conventions?

I'm seeing some interesting evidence that suggests that it will.

  1. In the last couple of days, I've seen a few people I follow on Twitter mention how they are going to the convention. This suggest to me that there will be delegates on the floor twittering during the events. You can follow these conversations on Twemes or Twitter search engine, searching by the tags #DNC08 and #RNC08.
  2. C-SPAN has a very advanced "Convention Hub" on its web site. In addition to providing a one-stop video archive of candidates' speeches, it is aggregating tweets from anyone that uses the tags above, as well as bloggers at the national and state levels. It also looks like C-SPAN will be using Qik to capture streaming video from the halls. It is very impressive.
  3. NPR's social media guy Andy Carvin has set up "rooms" in FriendFeed that are pulling in blog posts, Tweets and other pieces of the conversation through social media in one place. This is for the real political and convention junkie that has all their time and attention focused on the events.

The most interesting aspect to this is how the media is using these tools and exposing the conversation coming from them to their audiences. They are democratizing coverage in the process, but what will be interesting to see is if traditional journalists and policial bloggers pick-up on dynamics of the conversation and work this into their stories and reports. For example, if the rumors are true that McCain will select Joe Lieberman as his running mate, will there be a Twitter-induced revolt on the RNC convention floor?

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