Over this past summer I was interviewed on a couple different radio shows on NPR and Air America, and the hosts asked me what I thought about the CNN/YouTube Presidential Debate (Democrats). To paraphrase, I said, "it sucked".
At the end of the day, some random assemblage of CNN employees and consultants ultimately decided which video questions of the thousands that were submitted were "TV-worthy", thus stripping away the most organic and important elements of participatory media CNN claimed to embrace.
The CNN/YouTube Debates used this powerful new medium poorly and in bad faith. I quipped to the radio hosts that I'd like to see a candidate-free presidential debate that focused on analyzing candidates' positions on issues most important to the general public. Well, I'm glad to say that toward this end, my colleagues at TechPresident.com have innovated once again!
The rigorously creative folks at TechPresident.com called me up to ask if Afro-Netizen would come aboard to sponsor and promote 10Questions.com. Micah Sifry gave me the "elevator pitch", and I replied, "You had me at 'Do you wanna . . .'". I realized that 10Questions had the potential to do what corporate media structurally resists doing: trusting in the collective wisdom of the public, in this case, the private citizens who choose to engage in this fascinating civic experiment.
1. You ask a video question addressed to the presidential candidates (& upload it via YouTube, Blip.TV or Yahoo Video, tagging it with "10Questions").
2. You vote on the best questions.
3. The top ten questions get selected.
1. The top ten questions are presented to the candidates.
2. Candidates post their video answers.
3. You decide if they actually answered the questions.
Afro-Netizen sees in this ground-breaking project a (sadly) unique opportunity for us Blackfolk and other marginalized Americans whose concerns and priorities often fall outside of "mainstream" discourse to express our diversity of thought and perspectives as individuals while simultaneously committing to rally around those few questions that evoke the most visceral response in us communally.
I recommend to Afro-Netizen readers the following:
1) Craft an actual question (not a speech).
2) Make that question clear & specific.
3) Consider a question regarding an important issue that you haven't heard asked of a presidential candidate on TV.
4) Frame the question within the context that acknowledges structural inequality and/or a commitment to social, racial and/or economic justice.
5) If you do upload a video question, please remember to tag it with "10Questions" and "afronetizen" (so that the 10Questions folks can pull it and we at Afro-Netizen can monitor the efforts of submitters who learned about the project through us.)
6) Be sure to add a clear, descriptive title to your video.
If you do not have access to a webcam, do not want to be on camera, or simply want to share your question(s) with Afro-Netizen to invite our readers to submit them, feel free to do so by shooting us an e-mail at: 10questions@afro-netizen.
Spread the word! And let's get to it!
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