YouTube is once again helping change the face of politics as we know it. Thank God!
In this piece at the NYTimes…
The presidential debates are about to enter the world of YouTube, the anything-goes home-video-sharing Web site that puts the power in the hands of the camera holder. YouTube, which is owned by Google, and CNN are co-sponsoring a debate among the eight Democratic presidential candidates on July 23 in South Carolina, an event that could define the next phase of what has already been called the YouTube election, a visual realm beyond Web sites and blogs.
The candidates are to assemble on a stage in Charleston, S.C., at the Citadel (yes, the Citadel, the military school criticized by some Democrats a decade ago before it began admitting women). The questions will come via video submitted by ordinary people through YouTube. Moderating between the viewer and the candidates will be Anderson Cooper, the CNN anchor.
The video format opens the door for originality and spontaneity â€” elements usually foreign to the controlled environment of presidential image-making. Because visual images can be more powerful than words, the videos have the potential to elicit emotional responses from the candidates and frame the election in new ways.
Right on. Change in this system is not just good, it’s GREAT.
â€œItâ€™s one of the biggest innovations weâ€™ve seen in politics,â€ said Mike Gehrke, director of research for the Democratic National Committee, which has sanctioned the YouTube/CNN event as the first of six official Democratic debates this year (which means the party has coordinated them).
User-generated video, he said, is changing the balance in campaigns. â€œIt used to be a one-way street,â€ he said. â€œIt would cost a lot of money for a campaign to put together a good TV ad, then you had to buy time, put it on the air and later on Web sites. Now it goes the other way too, and you have people talking to each other and to the campaigns.â€
Another GREAT sign. The balance is shifting back to the people in control of the information. I’m really looking forward to politics in the USA in the future.
I’m not so sure the old-school politicians are though.
Oh yeah, here’s the best part about all of this.
The footage will be available on the Web for anyone to mash up and create new videos.
Think about that? Users, regular people, will be able to take this footage and do with it what they want. Mashing up new videos and ideas and memes, etc… Powerful.
Personally, I’m afraid that this will backfire and a politician will get burned and then they’ll all refuse to participate in this type of thing. But we’ll see.