News Corp.-owned MySpace is continuing its push to become the online destination for U.S. politics amongst the social networking generation. Today, the site announced an official partnership with the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) in which it will create a dedicated portal to host and let users disseminate the upcoming series of Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates.
MyDebates.org will offer "interactive tools for viewers to virally engage in the political process", and marks the first time that the CPD has partnered with an Internet property in addition to its traditional network television coverage.
As well as offering a live stream of the three Presidential debates and one Vice Presidential debate, which begin in September, online viewers will be polled on the fly, creating a real-time feedback loop on the issued being discussed.
MySpace will also offer a widget featuring live and on-demand streaming and other MyDebates functionality which can be embedded on a user's website, blog or social networking profile. Another neat sounding feature is "issue-based tracking", which will allow users to "track a candidate’s stance on issues they care about throughout the live stream".
MyDebates.org solidifies MySpace's role, and the Internet in general, as a powerful political vehicle and one that no candidate can afford to ignore. Partnerships like the one with CPD certainly adds to the social network's credibility and should help to drive up page views, especially if the site can live up to its promise of providing unparalleled live coverage and the participatory tools to go with it.
Chris DeWolfe, CEO of MySpace, said in a written statement that the social network wants to create "higher levels of civic engagement".
"We’re honored to be part of such an historic shift in how Americans engage in the Democratic process", he says. This is from a company that shares the same parent as the partisan Fox News!