Social media played a big role in the GOP debate tonight as Twitter became a key surveyor of the public's opinions of the debate. In tonight's debate featuring Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty, CNN used CurrentTV's idea of utilizing Twitter back in the presidential election of 2008. The debate apparently centered on Barack Obama but CNN's technology has captivated the tech world. In the past they've used holograms and other gimmicky technology but toned it down tonight.
They used Apple's chosen social network, Twitter, and the hashtag #CNNDebate as well as Facebook and CNN.com comments. Instead of just listening to the army of talking heads these channels have hired for just this kind of event, you could actually see what people from all walks of life thought. Whether they were hardcore Ron Paul fans or old people in the tank for Newt Gingrich, you could see what they were thinking. Sure there were some crazies and it was probably filtered to at least some degree, but at least it's a step in the right direction to try to get the opinions of normal people out there instead of blaspheming pundits like Glen Beck and Bill O'Reilly.