Vice presidential debate 2012: ABC7/Instant Reaction returns for second debate

Ryan and Biden will square off Thursday in their only debate. Photo: Associated Press

Participate tonight starting at 8:30 p.m.! Log onto from your smartphone and check out to follow everyone's reactions in real time!

Now, it's the vice presidential candidates' turn.

On Thursday night, Vice President Joe Biden and his counterpart, Republican nominee Paul Ryan, will square off in their only debate before the Nov. 6 election. And just like you did in last week's initial debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, you'll have a chance to react in real time.

For the second time this debate season, ABC7 is partnering with React Labs to offer ABC7/React Labs Instant Reaction – a revolutionary way to interact with the debates and your fellow voters.

All you have to do to participate Thursday is log on to (get in early to ensure your spot in the event - we have the capacity to let thousands of you in!) from your compatible smartphone, tablet or computer on Wednesday night starting at 8:30 p.m. No download is required!

The app runs on major smartphones including iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices, as well as in the Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers. The chart on which you'll be able to follow the reactions of every participant is also viewable in those major browsers as well.

Reactions topped the tens of thousands for Obama/Romney Part 1

During last Wednesday's first debate, more then 22,000 individual reactions were recorded, including hundreds per second during the most heated portions of the dialogue.

"The response we got from ABC7 viewers and users to our first go-around with Instant Reaction was overwhelming," ABC7 Digital Operations Manager Justin Karp says. "The race is only going to get more heated from here, and that should prompt even more passionate viewer response.

Developed by the University of Maryland’s Philip Resnik, Ph.D., Instant Reaction uses a smartphone-based application that will allow users to respond immediately and easily to what they’re watching on television.

"People really seemed to be engaging with the app, and we received responses from a wide range of viewers -- younger and older, male and female, Democrats, Republicans, and independents," Resnik says. "We were really pleased to how WJLA viewers resonated with Instant Reaction as they used it to communicate their instantaneous responses to what the candidates were saying."

How Instant Reaction works

After answering a few short questions, users will have the chance to agree and disagree with the candidates in real time, as well as identifying points where Biden and Ryan are pushing the party line or evading questions.

“Many people watching ABC7's debate broadcast really don't want their dinners interrupted by pollsters with survey questions, but those same people are using their mobile devices every day, and they do want their voices to be heard,” Resnik said.

Resnik is a professor at the University of Maryland who holds joint appointments at the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and in the Department of Linguistics.

Watch the results in real time

At the same time, debate watchers will get the chance to see their reactions and the responses of the other Instant Reaction participants in a real-time, flowing chart; an instant display of reaction and emotion to everything happening on debate night. Click here to check out what the reactions chart looked like following last week's presidential debate.

“This partnership really highlights the emerging potential of television as a two-way medium, not just for entertainment, but for improving the quality of public discourse,” Resnik said.

As one of the market’s journalistic leaders in digital innovation, social media and user interaction, ABC7 is proud to be affiliated with Resnik and React Labs on what is a groundbreaking project this election year.

“React Labs and ABC7 are breaking new ground in getting people more engaged in the political process and helping them make their voices heard,” Resnik says.

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