Anyone who’s been around Twitter for a while will undoubtedly have encountered a live debate occurring between two, three or multiple people. The platform is a breeding ground for conversations around sensitive issues and a stage for people to voice their concerns, their feelings and their beliefs in an open and informal format. I’ve seen things get heated at times, but in general terms Twitter etiquette enables two or more people to debate a topic in public without things getting personal.
There are two reasons why debates work so well on Twitter. The first is that Twitter communities are built around people with varying opinions on any given topic. Whether it’s the latest social media tool, politics or Cheryl Cole’s latest single, anything in the public domain is fodder for a Twitter debate. The second reason is that Twitter largely self-governs itself due to the fact that communities don’t stand for bullying or unreasonable behaviour. This is the real key to why Twitter is such an effective platform for instructive, insightful and beneficial discussions.
The one downside is that it’s very easy to be too late to the party with Twitter. Several times I’ve stumbled across an interesting conversation that’s all but over, which can be pretty frustrating. This has led to organised ‘chats’ that take place at specific times in the week, such as #CommsChat. These are great for mass interaction, but difficult to follow. Today, however, a new initiative has been launched to take the Twitter debate to the next level.
The Big Tweet Off (follow @thebigtweetoff and #bigtweetoff on Twitter) has been devised to provide an informal discussion forum in a fun environment where people can listen to the views of two experts on a given issue and make their own mind up. The format will see two ‘contenders’ with opposing views on a set proposition sparring with one another for a specific time period using the #bigtweetoff hashtag, after which the floor is opened up for general discussion. Participants can vote at any time, with the ‘winner’ announced at the end of the debate. Like The Big Tweet Off’s Posterous blog says: “It’ll be 8 Mile, but in tweet form”.
The first debate takes place on Thursday November 4th at 7.30pm GMT with the topic and contenders to be announced soon. See you there?
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