People of a certain age might remember old TV shows that used an “applause meter” (it was just an audio level meter) to allow the studio audience to “vote” on something or someone.

The kids at Twitter have come up with a 21st century twist for tomorrow night’s debate. From NYT’s The Caucus:

“If Senators John McCain and Barack Obama actually do debate Friday night, you will be able to watch what thousands of viewers think of their verbal sparring almost as they talk. Twitter, the service that lets techno-hipsters broadcast their thoughts in 140-character bursts, is setting up a special politics page to make it easy to tune into the chatter.

At midnight Thursday, the company is launching election.twitter.com, the first specialized section of its site. Like Twitter’s main service, it is dominated by a big white box. But instead of typing an answer to “What are you doing?” the election site asks, “What do you think?”

Below that box is a constantly scrolling display of the thoughts (called “tweets” in Twitterspeak) of other Twitter users. These include all the tweets entered on the election page as well as those entered in any other part of the service with obvious election-related phrases, such as “Palin.”

I was going to do my snarking here but I think I’ll join the crowd. This page is not just for the debate, I assume, so I’ll have a place to vent my spleen –from now until the election– without annoying you.

I think our company should do this very thing for each of the colleges we work with. Sure, you’d get a few fans tweeting that the coach made a bad call but I suspect the majority of posts would be supportive. And what a sense of “being part of the crowd” this would create for fans listening to the radio or watching TV. Might even be something a hip, web-savvy company would want to sponsor.

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