If you ask me — and you didn’t, so I will — it’s pretty damned incredible that Michael Arrington and TechCrunch is getting interviews with presidential candidates: McCain today; Romney earlier. It’s just a blog. It’s just a tech blog. But it’s powerful and has an important audience in a critical industry. So candidates are paying attention. That and 10Questions and the YouTube debates are evidence of a political process that’s just beginning to open up.
Posts about youtubecampaign
Over at PrezVid, I just posted an interview I did with Joe Trippi — who just announced he has joined the Edwards campaign — about the YouTube election.
Over at PrezVid, I watch and summarize the video responses to Mitt Romney’s YouTube Spotlight conversation-starter.
YouTube announces an initiative to get the candidates to converse with the voters. Details at PrezVid.
We have our first reply to a PrezConference question from a candidate. Joe Biden answers JD Lasica’s question about what he would ask us to sacrifice. Here’s JD’s question on YouTube. With this and his head-to-head video debates on issues, Biden takes the lead in smart moves in the YouTube campaign.
Here is my invitation to ask any candidate any question. Just record your question and upload it to YouTube (or use QuickCapture) and then tag it PrezConference (just as Biden’s campaign tagged his reply). That way, we’ll see which questions get answered and which don’t along with the answers. The tag makes it a conversation.
This is an important moment in the YouTube campaign. In the old days — yesterday — JD would have had to have run into the candidate at a random event somewhere in the country to have even a prayer of asking a question and that interaction would have been lost in the moment. But now, JD can ask iand the candidate can answer in front of all of us and he can answer for all to hear. So please do ask your questions. We deserve answers.
Breaking news over at Prezvid: ParkRidge47 makes his next video, an interview on YouTube.
TechPresident’s Joshua Levy does an excellent job showing that Barack Obama’s huge numbers on YouTube are likely gamed and inflated. And this makes me wonder whether his MySpace numbers are similarly manufactured. Add this to the anonymous anti-Hillary video made by a political operative and you get a disturbing, or at least unflattering, picture of some of Obama’s supporters. Some are trying to hack his campaign for him.
No one is saying that Obama’s staff is doing this. But it could hurt him nonetheless. That anti-Hillary commercial, coming from a hidden source, smelled of a dirty trick. Somebody’s engineering lies about at least his YouTube viewership. People will wonder how much of his buzz is elusive, the effort to goose it even desperate. See Peter Hauck’s post below asking whether the honeymoon is waning. Remember, too, the unwelcome attitude many in Iowa had to the invasion by hordes of Deaniacs with accents from elsewhere. It may be easy to hack a campaign, but I doubt whether it will be effective.
Last week in California, I was talking with some people who know about these things and they thought the Obama’s numbers were bogus but didn’t yet know how to prove it. TechPresident’s Levy shows how the number of visitors and views just don’t match up. The clearest evidence of fishiness is all this is TechPresident’s own YouTube chart, which they acknowledge looks darned suspicious:
But there’s a problem with all these numbers even if they aren’t bald-faced lies. We are so accustomed to the horse-race story in politics, the narrative media loves to push, that we are in a constant hunt for new numbers and new charts that tell that tale. Beware internet numbers, though. This is not a mass medium. It is a mass of niches. And even the biggest numbers are necessarily small. It’s the sum of all those small numbers that is huge. In other words, this is not a medium of winners and losers but of coalitions. Last week, amidst the Hillary 1984 commercial kefuffle, a half-dozen reporters called me working on the exact same story (which indicates a problem with reporting, but that’s a subject for another blog), and one of them asked whether the number of negative Hillary videos on YouTube indicated a loss of momentum for her (Mo is their favorite angle in the horse-race story). I laughed, which was more polite than scoffing with scorn. One person can make 10 anti-anybody videos. A hundred can make a thousand. And all that indicates is the thinking of 100 people, not the mood and mo of the nation. The numbers of views is similarly misleading, if you let them be: I watched the Hillary commercial because it was entertaining and being talked about, not because I agreed with it. No, the press hates this, but there’s only one number that matters — the election-day tally, of course — and that’s the one scoop they can’t have; it’s ours. So whether they’re gamed or not, view all these internet tallies with suspicion. They are for entertainment only, no wagering or governing with them allowed.
(Crossposted from PrezVid.)