Social networks plan digital side of presidential debates

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For the first time, viewers won't need a TV to watch the debates live, because YouTube is streaming all four debates, the three presidential ones and one between Vice President Joe Biden and GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

In cooperation with Univision, the debates will also be live-streamed simultaneously in Spanish.

Facebook is also hosting live events featuring guests such as Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. Facebook users can ask questions in real time for events that start Wednesday afternoon.

Twitter plans to organize and analyze the conversation about the debate using the hashtags #debates and #Denverdebate. Twitter also plans to set up an Event page, much like those used to curate real-time tweets for both nominating conventions, organized around the #debates hashtag, which will carry forward through the month.

And for viewers looking for a visual take on the debates that will likely skew more light hearted than other mediums, Tumblr is working with The Guardian to host a Live-GIFing of the debate on their official Election blog. The evening is sure to prompt some moments worth their own animated recap.

"Our research indicates that most Americans now consume their hard news in the form of animated GIFs," Tumblr editor-in-chief Chris Mohney said in a statement. "And we take the potential of legitimate GIF journalism very seriously, as should anyone still working in the old-school blog-focused model of reporting."

The first debate takes place Oct. 3 at the University of Denver. The moderator is PBS's Jim Lehrer, and it will focus on domestic issues, particularly the economy.