Saturday, April 28, 2007

YouChoose on YouTube

YouTube is gaining traction on television. That’s just my own empirical evidence from watching tv. A few weeks ago, one advertiser for a hygiene product called on viewers to submit their best video on YouTube for a national competition. This week, Fox was asking viewers to submit videos of why they supported any particular presidential candidate.

I logged on to YouTube and came across its YouChoose 08 channels, complete with a patriotic-looking logo that encourages you to “Face the candidates” on its site. A channel, by the way, is described as “YouTube members who upload videos.”

At least 15 candidates are currently featured and channels are aptly named for the one they endorse, such as Brownback4President or BarackObamadotcom. Each channel contained a host of videos about the candidate of choice. GovMittRomney had the most videos, 92 in all, while Brownback4President only has two. But then again, Brownback4President only joined the YouChoose 08 ring a month ago, a mere new kid on the block, while johnedwards had been around for more than a year.

As we look back in history, election campaigns, like wars and other political events of significance, have always seemed to leverage the latest technology and in doing so, pushed the media’s reach and limits permanently.

This will certainly be true once again in this election cycle.

I’m sure politicians are looking for YouTube and other social networking sites, like MySpace, to reach out to younger audiences…(I’m not trying to age-discriminate, but I guess the general presumption is that younger folks tend to spend more time on those Internet sites.)

But -- will it have the effect that everyone, at least the candidates, are hoping for?

Last week, JP showed us in class that pundits and politicians hoped the same when television began to gain popularity but failed to deliver. Will the YouTube/TV combo go down the same path?

With Fox possibly featuring some of those videos on its airwaves, and as with some other YouTube videos making the evening news, it is possible that somehow younger voters will be more attuned to what’s happening on the campaign trail and respond, not just with a mocking video but by…voting.

We’ll just have to wait until after the election to see, but for now, there is hope (yes, again) at least for those of us who are optimists. Pessimists will surely decry the new developments as undermining credibility, fairness, accuracy, etc. ..the traditional mainstays of journalism.


At Saturday, April 28, 2007, Blogger L.C. said...

I've also noticed how much YouTube has been used by news stations lately. For my own little rant, the thing that frustrates me about it is that I think it just shows that stations themselves are too slow to adapt. They latch on to vehicles like YouTube because it represents a popular new technology, but it seems to me to be a poor substitute for the station's own restructuring. Can't they find their own ways to innovate and tell stories people want to hear that don't involve regurgitating someone else's product?


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