Well, here we go.
The Republican National Convention is underway following what baseball fans would call a ‘rain delay’ and Google is looking to make the most of the opportunity (as well as with the Democratic National Convention) by using Google+ for its Politics & Elections coverage. This Google+ page is far from new (It started on January 6, 2012) but the coverage of a convention in this style certainly is.
From the About section of the Google+ page we learn exactly what is going on with this grand experiment.
Welcome to the Google Politics & Elections page, the source for news and notes from our Politics & Elections team. Our goal is to bring people closer to politics by making relevant information and resources easier to find and interact with. Our primary focus is the U.S. election process, but we’ll also cover global topics and encourage interaction around the world.
This page will focus on impartial data and digital trends surrounding the political process. We are non-partisan and don’t support or endorse any political candidates.
That last sentence is pretty funny considering Google’s very public support of President Obama in his run in 2008 but let’s not quibble.
So what will we find in this venture? Hangouts. Lots of hangouts. From the Wall Street Journal to NBC News and we haven’t really even started yet.
Here’s the problem though. While Google is promoting an impartial approach, the ‘discourse’ in the comments is already taking a turn for the ugly. Is there such a thing a civil online political discourse in this country anymore? I sincerely doubt it. Politics tends to bring out the worst in people in most cases but couple that burning fire with a heavy dose of ‘internet muscles’ or ‘digital courage’ and you get a quick devolution into name calling rather than real discussion.
I personally would love to Rip Van Winkle my way through the next 2 months or so. I don’t see much good coming out of the vitriol and hate that is openly displayed by both sides of the aisle and is pawned off as political ‘discussion’. It will be interesting, however, to see exactly how this Google experiment plays out at both conventions.
Are you looking forward to this political stretch run in the online space? Do you plan on following the political landscape online via Google+ or are you choosing other options? If so what are they? In your opinion, what makes online coverage of the political process good or bad?