December 07, 2011 10:00 ET

Social Discussion Forum Townhall 140 Launches Using OpenTok

Site Built at Harvard Startup Weekend Promotes Discussions on 'Subjects That Matter' in 140 Characters or 140 Seconds

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Dec 7, 2011) - Combining Twitter with face-to-face chat on the web, Townhall 140 launched this week as a service to engage young people in politics and important issues using the communication channels they are comfortable with.

Developed by Harvard students in conjunction with TokBox, which provides the OpenTok Video Platform, Townhall 140 won the Harvard Innovation Lab's StartUp Scramble and is reaching out to politicians and elected officials across the country.

"Young people have really struggled to have a voice on important matters and in politics in particular," said Monica Liu, one of the creators of Townhall 140. "We wanted to combine Twitter and video chat so anyone with an opinion and a webcam could join the debate and talk face-to-face with important people on important topics."

Townhall 140 launched with a forum with Gordon Jones, Director of the Harvard iLab, and a discussion on the Occupy movement with Harvard Institute of Politics Director Trey Graysen during Townhall 140's live-launch the week before. Harvard Undergraduate Council president Senan Ebrahim also hosted a Townhall 140 on Friday, and future discussions are planned with elected officials, political candidates, senior departmental figures and thought leaders.

Ian Small, CEO of TokBox, commented: "Face-to-face is clearly the online communication medium of the future. Monica and her team have done an amazing job creating a forum that brings the best bits of traditional town halls into an online environment that is meaningful and accessible for people all across the country and the world."

To see who is next on in Townhall 140, visit

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