MySpace today announced that it will work together with the Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD) to broadcast the upcoming presidential debates in the U.S. live on the social networking site. MySpace and the CPD also created MyDebates.org, where users can learn more about the issues and candidates through various quizzes and videos. Maybe the most interesting feature of the site, however, is that it (anonymously) collects all the data from users who take the "issue quizzes" and then displays those in a well designed set of statistics.
This partnership with MySpace marks the first time the CPD has partnered with an Internet company. While MySpace's PR company exaggerates the importance of this a bit by linking it to the Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960, we are always happy to see more ways for users to get informed about the political process and, from what we have seen so far, MySpace and the CPD have done a very good job with the MyDebates.org site.
One thing we like about the site is that even though it is closely linked with MySpace, you do not need to be a MySpace user to use all of its functionality. However, MySpace is definitely using this to get you to sign up for their site, as they continually give you the option to either sign in to MySpace, sign up for the site, or to continue as a guest.
Also nice is the ability to take your quiz results and embed them on your blog or social network pages.
OnTheIssues, or the NYTimes or NPR election sites feature a more comprehensive set of information about the candidates. However, they are also far less likely to reach the amount of young voters that MySpace can.If you are already strongly engaged in the political process, this site won't give you much in terms of new information besides the statistics it gathers. The 'issue quiz,' however, does a good job in informing less engaged users about which candidate they most agree with. Other sites like