The Civil Debate Wall—popularly known as ‘The Wall’—is a unique, innovative social media tool created by Local Projects for The Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida and funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation. The Wall creates constructive dialogue by providing a physical social media tool that connects large touch screens, a texting system, and a website. These three synchronized components create a single, seamless interactive experience for the broader University of Florida community to actively engage in local, national and international issues.
The physical Wall is a series of five interconnected touch-screen displays, which allow students, teachers and citizens to share ideas and solutions to pressing political questions facing the nation. Users post opinions or join existing debates on questions that deal with a range of relevant subjects varying from the environment to foreign policy. The Wall is installed at the University of Florida’s Pugh Hall, home of The Bob Graham Center.
The Wall allows users to follow debates via SMS. Debaters are notified via text when another person joins the debate and can continue the discussion by texting back to the Wall. By connecting a population that relies almost exclusively on text to communicate, the wall will provide a social place that appeals to this mode of communication.
The website component of the Wall closely mirrors the physical Wall. The website attracts users who are not physically on campus. Providing the same features, the website gathers users from a broader population and allows users to keep track of debates.
The Wall sifts through the key words of postings, tabulating them in dynamic data visualization to show where agreement lies. Collected information will be used by Knight Foundation scholars as well as users to locate common ground on potentially divisive topics.
Help spread the word about The Wall — and check back often to see the newest debates and opinions.