Monday, July 24, 2006

The YouTube Campaign

One of the things we haven't talked about much around here is the explosion of YouTube as a tool for and driver of campaigns.

Here's the upshot: YouTube and sites like it are allowing people unaffiliated with campaigns to make campaign videos and event reports, and, most importantly, to share them. Some of them are scarily good. For example, go watch this anti-Lieberman piece. Doesn't matter if you agree with it or not--it's effective. And it's going to spread all around the liberal web: by the end of today, I bet half a million people will have seen it--if not more.

Ned Lamont's campaign didn't pay a thing for it. They had nothing to do with it--just like they have nothing to do with the hundreds of liberal blogs posting positive coverage of the race. For now, these videos probably serve the same purpose as campaign blogs--they excite and motivate the candidate's base. But what if they start reaching undecided voters? Video is a far more powerful medium than text.

Another new wrinkle. Another small campaign revolution, courtesy of the Web.

Update: This piece from CT Bob is a perfect illustration of the possibilities of this medium. As Bob's video suggests, most incumbent politicians don't really like being questioned by regular people. They'd rather deal with the press, which acts as a sort of buffer between elected officials and the rest of us. The mainstream press is predictable, and follows set patterns and rules. Regular people are not, and do not. I think it annoys the hell out of some officials to have to speak directly to us without the buffer there, and to have to answer our questions because suddenly we've got digital cameras and an internet connection. Everyone can be the media. Scary stuff.

17 comments:

GMR said...

How long until the Federal Elections Commission rules that this constitutes a campaign contribution?

Anonymous said...

Half a million is a bit of a stretch. the "messy desk" commercial is only at 130000 right?

Anonymous said...

Check out the Nedheads group on YouTube, which has 268 videos and 1,299 members. Browse their videos.

ctkeith said...

ctblogger started this.He deserves the credit for it too.He recognized before anyone else the value independent video on blogs could bring to this campaign and encouraged and helped the others.

Genghis Conn said...

He deserves a TON of credit. He was one of the first political blogs in the country to be doing video-blogging. This post illustrates ctblogger's talents.

Aldon Hynes said...

Online videos are finally coming of age, thanks significantly to video sharing sites, like YouTube and Blip.TV, as well as more and more less expensive video tools. It has been a while in the making. During the 2004 Democratic Presidential Primaries, a group of people from San Francisco made the I Switched to Dean videos. The Dean Media Team was a dynamic community of media professionals.

At the Personal Democracy Forum this year, there was a panel entitled, “Is Online Video More Powerful Than TV Ads?”. It was well attended and focused on videoblogging as part of campaigns. One of the speakers highlighted videos from volunteers to the Lamont campaign. Another speaker, Steve Garfield showed some great work from John Tobin’s campaign video blog which has been going strong since his 2005 election.

Personally, I believe we need to be doing much more to encourage everyone to get out and make videos about what is going on in our country. I helped organize the Citizen Filmmaking to encourage this.

Needless to say, Ned Lamont supporters have done a great job in getting their message out with online videos, especially CTBlogger. However, I would like to highlight a few other things. Check out State Senate candidates Steve Berry, Matthew Brennan, and Frank Farricker, as well as State Rep candidates Paul Cavagnero and Ed Krumeich. I would love to see more State Legislative candidates get videos of their speeches online. Please, go out and shoot some video, or make some ads yourself.

One final video I would like to highlight that I received an email about this morning is Oklahoma Family Values. We are seeing more and more people start making their own online videos around the country.

Other comments, Anon(11:21) is right in questioning the ‘half a million views’. Only a handful of videos on YouTube break 50,000 views a day. As to FEC rules, there have already been a few test cases in the Pacific Northwest. The legal issues around online video are much more complicated than they are around simple text blogging, and you can count on many more cases to come. That said, as long as sites like YouTube and Blip.TV provide free hosting, and all that volunteers provide is their time and expertise, I expect that sharing of online political videos will remain fairly safely in the realm of free speech.

Anonymous said...

More video and tough questions from bloggers CT Bob & Maura at today's Boxer-Lieberman news conference. Boxer makes up stuff about Lieberman's statement on emergency contraception. If only the paid reporters would ask equally smart questions.

Genghis Conn said...

I've updated the post to talk about Bob's video, anonymous.

BRubenstein said...

Any candidate for any office now would be advised to include "you tube" in their bag of multi-media tricks...

Id like to see in the future test messaging done from campaigns directly to the field people's cell phones ( and reverse)on primary day so the field folks running the campaigns wouldnt have to rely on " running the boards" every few hours...you could also shift poll standers, etc quicker using this concept.I suggested this to a campaign and it was like talking Greek ( no offense to any Greeks seeing this) to the campaign.

Genghis Conn said...

It's going to take one successful campaign doing these things, and doing them well, for it to catch on. If Lamont succeeds, his campaign will be the textbook for how to run a modern internet-friendly campaign for the next cycle.

AnonAndOnAndOn said...

"politicians don't really like being questioned by regular people"

No.

Politicians just don't like being "gotcha"ed by their opponent's campaign volunteers. That's all.

cgg said...

In the age of passive television viewing and DVR's it makes sense that campaigns and activists would utilize viral videos. When is the last time any of us actually paid attention to a commercial? Meanwhile how many of us have actively watched a video on the internet? It's a powerful tool.

bluecoat said...

BR: do you speak Greek too?

BRubenstein said...

Bluecoat..YASOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ctblogger said...

Thanks for the props guys.

I have to say that video is the future of blogging. Reading is one thing but using video as a visual aid is a whole different matter.

When I first did video, ther was no youtube and although embedding video was a real pain, the addition of this new tool had an quick impact on my readership and help get the message of Ned Lamont's campaign out to the masses.

Hopefully, I've paved the way for a future generation of bloggers to use the power of video. It's an incredible tool and politicians would be wise to learn from what people like myself, CTBob and Spazeboy are doing here in CT.

Case in point, wait till I release my blogger interview we all did with John DeStefano...

ctkeith said...

AnonAndOnAndOn,

Liebermans paid people showed up at early Lamont events and were always allowed to ask any questions they wanted to and Ned answered them.

The difference was staggering at Liebermans very staged events where any Lamont supporter was scowled at by Liebermans staffers and never allowed to ask a question.

scaryice said...

Hey, I'm proud to be part of the revolution. And I've never even been to Connecticut!