And the winner of the first 2012 presidential debate was? Twitter. In all seriousness, it’s exciting to see so much traffic concerning politics and the upcoming election. Democracy is supposed to be a discussion after all. Everyone is talking and texting and posting… I myself am anticipating the Jon Stewart debate with Bill O’Reilly, which should certainly be more entertaining. Anyone care to debate me on that?
Let’s Get Ready to Argue
Deeyoon is a startup that makes it possible to have a heated conversation about anything under the sun in an orderly fashion, carved out from all the incessant online chatter. Sure there are chat rooms and forums galore, but space for a back and forth exchange like the one between Obama and Romney? The Deeyoon platform sets the stage for civilized arguments (or at least structured if not entirely civil).
Real-time, live video debates are the heart of the startup. Users can post a topic they want to debate or choose to accept a challenge from a selection of proposed debates. Voyeurs that prefer to watch others trade ideas and barbs, can tune in to live or archived debates as well. Viewing options as of this writing include the debates “Should the US Adopt Canada’s Drug Control Tactics?” and “Should Jerusalem Remain the Undivided Capitol of Israel.”
The site functions as a silent moderator. Debaters can choose the length of the debate, but must work within the typical constraints of the format – providing opening statements, followed by argument, rebuttal, and closings. Although listeners also have the opportunity to try to join in, and they may cast votes as to whether they agree or disagree with points argued.
From the Podium
How well will the site maintain order might be the subject of it’s own debate. Who will tune in and judge? Who will watch or participate? How well will users abide by the rules? Many questions remain, but the attempt to create on online space where people talk with each other rather than at each other is refreshing.
An example of the lively potential for the platform came by way of baseball player Jose Canseco dropping in to enter the debate on the topic “Is Jose Canseco Worthy of the Hall of Fame Even After Juicing?” Say what you will about the role of sports in our society, I don’t think I’ve ever met a sports fan lacking for things to argue.
Deeyoon is a labor of love for Founder and CEO Joe Kalfa. He’s self-funded so far but with plans to grow. A publishing widget should help other websites direct readers to Deeyoon to start debates or join in ongoing action. Previously, Kalfa started two other companies, Allourpower (a group purchasing site meant to restore consumer purchasing power) and North American Dental Wholesalers, Inc. (a medical, dental, and veterinary supplier). Kalfa has also been active in the startup community as an investor in Wahooly, tweetTV, and Kewl Innovations, Inc. (medical devices).
Should web content writers covering Internet entrepreneurship receive more consideration for Pulitzer Prizes and greater recognition for their contribution to the industry? The gauntlet has been thrown down.