I was astounded at the amount of different technical venues for the watchers of the debate.  In four years, the Internet has started playing a more vital role in influencing voters' decisions.

Some of the most impressive tools came from an unsurprising source, the website of ‘political giant' CNN.  Not only could you watch the debate live from your laptop but you could also watch the debate live with blogger comments displayed on your screen.  In addition to that, you could watch live analysis from expert political teams.  This means that debate watchers not only had the ability to hear from their peers, but also experienced analysts.

CNN and other channels also gave viewers the ability to go online and check facts related to questions that the moderator presented and gave them the ability to see what their fellow voters thought as the answers were given.  Several channels showed real-time positive/negative charts made from dials given to audience members at Washington University.

Palin and Biden meet for the debate.

Of course, the normal slew of micro-bloggers using Twitter and vbloggers using YouTube were in full force.  I was amazed at how quickly those two particular platforms were filled with opinions.  Amusingly, one video (that has unfortunately been deleted by the time of this posting) that directly followed another video, corrected something said in the first.  Internet users could barely keep up with themselves!

I was nearly overwhelmed by all of these choices.

"Is this too much?" 

Because of my overuse of technology, I felt that it became difficult for me to form uninfluenced opinions.  Other friends and colleagues have different opinions on the issue, but I feel that technology may serve only to distract from the actual debate.

We live in a time when we are able to interact with voters all over the world.  Perhaps I'm wrong, and it's a blessing to have many opinions at our fingertips.

Opinions?  Does all of the information available to us help us or distract us from the debate?

Also concerning technology and politics, check out this overview from Larry Kless about our recent Oovoo chat concerning the 2008 Senate race.