Thursday, March 22, 2007

Will a YouTube Video Decide the Next President?

The game has indeed changed -- and for the better, I think:
In the past, money was an insurmountable barrier on the average American to having an influence on elections but with the advent of the Internet, YouTube and viral Internet campaigns, any individual with access to a computer, creativity and limited technical skills can create a devastating message. Only the creativity and effectiveness of the message can limit its ability to spread like a wildfire.
There is the risk, of course, that politics descends into "gotcha" moments, but I think the opposite is more likely -- that candidate's TRUE SELVES are revealed.  Modern political machines, with their carefully crafted commercials, soundbites and speeches, can easily fool the public.  For example, I don't think what happened to George Allen was unfair -- given his racist past, I think his "macaca" comment showed the real him...

In the 2006 election, several incumbents owe their defeat to an ill-advised comment caught on video tape and spread across the Web. It isn't a new phenomenon for campaigns to employ trackers. Operatives are routinely dispatched to follow the opposing candidate in hopes of capturing an inopportune moment on videotape.

What is new is that much more of the footage is being saved from a death on the cutting room floor and is now being posted on the Internet. The community of activists and citizens takes over from there. The results can be devastating. Just ask former Virginia Sen. George Allen, who had his "macacca" moment during the campaign and never recovered.


Will a YouTube Video Decide the Next President?

Presidential Politics Just Got a Lot More Interesting


March 20, 2007 — - For decades, campaign managers and spin masters have controlled the campaign messages blasting across the airwaves.

They used one focus group after another to determine which words to say and which images to use. Only then would a radio spot or television commercial make it off the drawing board and into the election campaign.

All that may be changing.

On March 5, an anonymous visitor to the popular video-sharing site YouTube uploaded a video attacking Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and promoting the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.


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