Political coverage no longer begins and ends at the edges of your newspaper or television screen. Twitter has partnered with CBS News to live stream the Republican and Democratic national conventions on its feed, which means you can watch gavel-to-gavel coverage and see what people are saying about it on almost any device you own.
What is Twitter live-streaming?
This new service, which quietly launched in a bare-bones version earlier this month, streams live video coverage of events inside a window on the Twitter site. Curated tweets from other users appear alongside it.
So far, Twitter has livecast coverage (though no actual tennis matches) from Wimbledon. It has also inked a deal to show 10 NFL Thursday Night games, as well as about 150 college sporting events from the Pac-12 Conference, and three news programs produced by Bloomberg Media.
What's the difference between watching on Twitter vs. TV?
Twitter is carrying the feed from CBS's streaming news network, CBSN, which is also available on the Web, via the network's mobile app, or the CBSN channel on streaming media players like Apple TV and Roku. So while traditional couch potatoes will watch coverage from the CBS News team anchored by Scott Pelley, Twitter fans will see alternate coverage from the network's digital team, lead by Josh Elliott, Elaine Quijano, and Vladimir Duthiers.
Twitter Live viewers will also see that curated series of related tweets alongside the video. If you are someone who follows along with Twitter on your phone as you watch live events, such as the presidential debates or the Oscars, now you can do it on one screen instead of two.
A CBS spokesperson says its digital network will also carry a live stream of tweets on its Web, mobile, and streaming media platforms, but was unable to say whether these tweets would be the same as those carried on Twitter's live feed.
Where can I find Twitter's convention coverage?
Good question. Twitter has yet to announce how people can watch any of these live streams, but says you won't have to have a Twitter account to view them.
"There will be lots and lots of ways Twitter users will be able to find the live stream, but we haven't announced any," says Nick Pacilio, a spokesperson for Twitter.
For Wimbledon, Twitter created a specific page dedicated to the event, though, once again, it didn't offer much info on how to find it.
Why are CBS and Twitter doing this?
"These conventions are such a social event, it makes sense to have the social conversation and coverage integrated in this way," says a CBS spokesperson. "It's a way to extend our reach to new viewers and our social presence."
When asked, Twitter referred us to a statement issued via press release from company CFO Anthony Noto:
“Twitter is the fastest way to find out what’s happening in politics and to have a discussion about it. By bringing the live discussion of the Republican and Democratic national conventions together with CBSN’s live video stream of the proceedings, we believe we’re giving people around the world the best way to experience democracy in action.”
Where else can I follow the conventions on my gadgets?
As in 2012, YouTube will be the "official" livestream for both the RNC and DNC conventions, and will even offer coverage in immersive 360-degree virtual reality, for viewers who have a Google Cardboard VR headset.
Facebook says it will create a media lounge at both conventions and has invited major media organizations to use Facebook Live to broadcast to the masses. CSPAN already plans to broadcast via its Facebook page from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. eastern each evening.
The RNC and DNC also plan to broadcast via Snapchat channels, @gopconvention16 and @demconvention, respectively.
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