Tonight (Oct. 3) the first presidential debate of the 2012 election will be broadcast on major networks, live-streamed on YouTube and much discussed, no doubt, on Twitter.
But maybe you'd like to get more involved. While we can't guarantee you'll be riveted, we can show you some new ways to experience the event online.
For the record
Are the candidates fudging the truth? Go to FlackCheck.org, a website run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, to learn the truth about statements made by both debaters. The group last night launched a page predicting the most likely topics that will prove to be deceptive. Tonight's debate will be scrutinized by team members, a FlackCheck spokeswoman told TechNewsDaily. Staff will be tweeting throughout the event to call attention to misstatements and will provide in-depth analysis at the close of the evening, she said.
See the lighter side
You've heard about live streaming, but how about live giffing? GIFs, animated picture files featuring a cartoon-like repetition of a second or so of live action, are great at capturing the humor of a moment. Past debates have had their share of moments — such as Al Gore "stalking" George W. Bush in a 2000 meeting.
Popular blogging site Tumblr has assigned a "crack team" of GIF artists to crank out instant animations on Tumblr's official election blog featuring the best debate moments, with guest editor Adam Gabbatt from the Guardian. You can also upload your own GIFs. Need help? See our guide to GIF-making .
Some folks no doubt will tune in to see the birth of the next big meme, the follow-up to Clint Eastwood's talk to an empty chair during the Republican National Convention. The Romney campaign has said its candidate has some "zingers" lined up for the debates, which could provide the one-liner necessary for a new meme. Keep an eye on Reddit, a social news site where many a meme is born. If you'd like to contribute, try quickmeme.com, where you can see a stream of "hot" memes, click to use a photo, add your own saying and then post to Reddit, Twitter and Facebook.
Share your as-it-happens responses
Launched earlier this week, Ponderoo is a free app for iPhone and iPad that lets users broadcast their reactions to the candidate's comments in a line-by-line, real-time way. Ponderoo is named for the ripple effect: Toss a pebble in a pond and the ripples grow as they expand from the center. One viewer's comment can affect others the same way. Users enter a "pond" — in this case, tonight's debate — and tap above or below a line to express their positive or negative responses as the debate progresses. Participants can also display "the world," an aggregated opinion line of everyone in the pond.
If you happen to own a Samsung Galaxy Tab or Note, you can download the new Peel Remote TV app with a feature that will let viewers "boo" and "cheer" throughout the debate. Peel TV said it will provide analysis of the event, such as the moments that unleashed the strongest sentiment, immediately following the debate's close at 10:30 p.m. EDT. (If you already use the app, you must update it to get the debate feature.) The company will post results to its Facebook page as well.