Politics and political campaigns will never be the same after this one. The first US presidential campaign is taking place in the era of social media. Or as Garrett Graff calls it “The First Campaign”, which is “defined by technology” and where for the first time “technology is both the medium and the message“. Yes, we do perceive the candidates by what they say, but we also pay attention to how they say it, by what means.
TechRepublican posted today a short interview with Jeff Jarvis of the BuzzMachine, where he briefly comments on how YouTube has been useful throughout the presidential campaign, because it gives us a lot more than just sound bites and he quotes Barack Obama’s thirty-minute speech that received a lot of attention. Asked about whether the next US President should keep posting videos on YouTube, Jarvis replies positively, because (as he puts it): “It is a new relationship.”
An interesting comment follows the brief interview with Jarvis, pointing to a link to a White House Video Tour, where President Bush takes virtual visitors around the Oval Office. Drew, who posted the link, believes that online videos give us a totally different perspective of someone. However, after seeing the seven-minute clip, my perception of the current President and his “eloquence” did not change much – he is repeating phrases and making several silly comments. Ironically, Drew’s comment claiming that presidents posting videos “is already happening and becoming history” misses the whole point of Web 2.0. YouTube features user-generated content, it is a dialogue, where you can actually see how popular the posted video is, vote, post comments and video responses. I can not even begin to draw the huge difference between a video placed on an Web 1.0 institutional monologue-style website and the dynamic exchange that makes YouTubea social media platform.
Reading this comment provoked me to sum up an up-to-date comparison of the YouTube activity of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. Obama’s campaign is pretty tech savvy and this is no discovery, but ho much ahead of the game is he on YouTube?
Total Number of YouTube videos:
- Obama – 1,200 videos
- McCain – 200 videos
Number of subscribers to their YouTube Channel
- Obama – 65,000 people
- McCain – 8,400 people
Most watched video
- Obama – 4,700,000 views (that is the 30-something minute video Jarvis refers to above!)
- McCain – 400,000 views
It is clear that where McCain is in the hundreds, Obama is in the thousands. Where McCain is in the hundreds of thousands, Obama is in the millions.
Here’s one of the things YouTube does best – work as a repository of TV-produced pieces, prolonging their life and the buzz around them. Like this sophisticated satire of Obama+Messiah=Obamessiah: