If, according to the old saying, “all politics is local,” then the time has come to demonstrate that new, interactive media can invigorate local civic engagement around elections — moving from interest to involvement, from spectacle to civil society.
Personal Democracy Forum, with support from The Knight Foundation and in partnership with Google and YouTube, has created a platform to facilitate that involvement. It’s called 10Questions. Here’s how it works:
- Citizens can post text questions or video questions through YouTube for candidates in the 2010 midterm elections; each race has its own page where we aggregate questions posed for candidates in that specific race.
- Using Google technology, visitors to that site can vote questions up and down. After a set period of public engagement, the 10 top- voted questions in each race are posed to the candidates.
- Candidates then have the opportunity to post video responses, and voters rate those responses for completeness, directness, depth and substance — criteria that are sometimes hard to get out of politicians in the rapid-fire context of a live debate.