Posted July 23, 2007 10:49 am by with 1 comment

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The 2008 presidential election has the potential to claim the largest voter turnout in more than a 100 years, thanks to social media. With a spotlight already shining on the search engine reputation of candidates, and many hopefuls already blogging, we learn than CNN has partnered with YouTube for two upcoming presidential debates.

On July 23 at 7pm ET, CNN will air questions recorded at YouTube –  the first time the general public will have a chance to ask a question in a debate.

While, the questions will be carefully screened, and chosen by CNN’s political team, this is a huge step in creating a radically transparent election. As we draw closer to November 2008, the candidates will realize – especially the underdogs – that social media allows them to reach voters on a more personal level.

It almost worked for Howard Dean – until his infamous scream – and it will have an even bigger impact on the 2008 election. Ron Paul’s already putting social media to good use, Fred Thompson is blogging, and John Edwards is live streaming video today.

The same rules of conversational marketing apply just as easily to politicians as they do businesses. Give voters a level of transparency – let them connect with you – and you’ve a solid chance they’ll check your name on election day.

  • Actually, the general public has been acting questions in presidential and other debates for centuries, in the town hall format. This is probably the first time questions are on pre-recorded video, which means that it reaches a wider audience, but the questions are more pre-screened. In a town hall, you can ask pretty much anything, and because it is live, the candidates have no choice but to address it.