GOP convention to include some digital firsts

David Chalian

Have you ever wondered about those adrenaline-infused moments just before or after a political heavyweight takes to the stage to deliver a high-profile speech to millions of Americans?

Wonder no more.

Not terribly unlike the E! Entertainment Television interview room where Golden Globe winners go immediately after claiming their statue, one of the Republican National Convention's digital initiatives in Tampa, Fla., will be a "conversation room" where GOP stars will go after they walk offstage at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. In this digital greenroom, program participants will tweet, post on Facebook, share an Instagram photo, or perhaps Skype into a television interview on the heels of one of the most watched moments of their career.

(OK. So it isn't really like the E! interview room much at all, but you get the idea.)

The offstage conversation room is just one of four pillars of the most concerted digital push ever implemented at a Republican National Convention.

The other major components include a customized YouTube page where the RNC intends to house live-stream coverage; real-time social Web data analysis; and infographics and photos.

A few blocks away from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the RNC (with the help of Google, the official social platform and live-stream provider at the convention) has constructed a digital center at the Tampa Convention Center to be co-located with the 15,000 accredited journalists expected to cover the festivities from Aug. 27 to Aug. 30. This space will serve as the RNC command headquarters to build, engage and monitor the online community surrounding the convention.

And if you want to be the first to know the detailed schedule of all the activities and events happening in Tampa each day, there's an app for that. The Tampa Bay host committee and the RNC are jointly rolling out a mobile app (on both Android and Apple devices) in the next few days that will contain the complete schedule and other features aimed at bringing the millions of Republicans who can't be in Tampa into the convention hall.

"Wherever you live, whatever device you use, we want you to engage as an active participant in this convention," Republican National Convention CEO William Harris told Yahoo News. "This convention is about every American's future, and everyone has a stake in it so we created a 'Convention Without Walls' to make this the most open and accessible event in history."

And perhaps the neatest digital goody is reserved for those who aren't traveling to Tampa: If you happen to check in on Foursquare at a venue that once hosted a Republican National Convention (say, Madison Square Garden in New York or the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia), you will be able to view historical factoids about that convention in the notes.