Posts about youtubecampaign

New at PrezVid

Just posted at PrezVid on how the Brits (and French) are doing better in their video campaigning at showing us more candid moments and thus candor, in response to a TechPresident post by Micah Sifry. Another about the ridiculous conservative harumphing about Rudy Giuliani’s life in drag.

Meanwhile, at PrezVid

Some new posts of note over at my PrezVid vlog/blog:

* My interview with Loic Le Meur, adviser and vlogger for conservative French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, about the amazing video action happening in the campaign over there. For all the attention American candidates are getting in our YouTube election, the video scene in France’s election is far ahead, moreso on Sarkozy’s site than on that of his liberal opponent, Segolene Royal (you supply the accents, please).

* John Edwards tells WNYC’s Brian Lehrer that this is, indeed, the YouTube election … and he’s not bothered by all the hair jokes.

* Watch Hillary at Google.

Why PrezVid?

Since I dove right into PrezVid without an introductory post and mission statement and because I’m talking about the YouTube campaign on Monday with Faith Salie on her public-radio show (which has been on my iTunes subscription list for a few weeks; I’m a fast fan), I thought I should answer the questions: Why PrezVid? And what will PrezVid do? Of course, I have many answers:

First, almost every one of the presidential candidates is using YouTube and internet video to open up a new channel to voters. As I said in my Guardian column, this is an eye-to-eye medium that lets the candidates speak directly to individuals on a small screen instead of from a big platform. It lets them control the message and set the agenda and tone. It enables them to bypass the soundbiting of network news (yes, the messages are still short, but you can say a helluva lot more in two minutes than in 10 seconds and you can control what is said).

Second, voters in the field are taping everything the candidates do. I say this is good; it makes the campaigns more public. Will we have our macaca moments? Oh, you bet. Sometimes, this will reveal the candidates’ true character. But sometimes, it will merely confirm that we’re all human and all screw up. The question will be: how well will media and the electorate distinguish between the two?

Third, this allows us, the voters, to see the candidates in a new light. Of course, they are still controlled and stage-managed. But still, more exposure to them that we get, the better we can judge both their words and their character. See the change not just in what Mitt Romney said but in how he acted in 1994 versus today (more on that later).

Fourth, internet video helps us speak back to the candidates. The politicians are trying to manage this as well: see McCain with his questions via YouTube. But there’ll be plenty of uncontrolled talking-back: see The Real McCain.

Fifth, this will give us all an opportunity to see the campaign commercials that, in recent years, could be seen only in battleground states. I hope this will put a harsher light on filthy campaigning. We’ll see.

So PrezVid will track the course of the YouTube campaign through video everywhere. We will show you the videos we think that matter — from candidates, from citizens, and from remixers. We will look at how internet video affects the campaign and the country. We will offer criticism and commentary. And we’ll have some fun. And we’ll do that both in blog posts and in vlog shows.

Are campaigns conversations?

Patrick Ruffini says that campaigns are not conversations and he’ll be surprised to hear that I agree with him. He says:

“Campaigns are conversations.” If I hear this one more time, I swear my head is going to explode. Campaign 2008 already has its most overused cliche, at least among us techie types.

“Let the conversation begin,” blares Hillary Clinton’s Web site. “Start the conversation,” says Chris Dodd’s. “This campaign is about YOU,” proclaims Barack Obama’s. Jeff Jarvis has a new blog on Presidential video dedicated to the Platonic ideal of campaigns as a neverending bull session with the voters.

Problem is, I don’t get the point of this exactly. At some level, this seems like no more than a basic transposition of Doc Searls’ “markets are conversations,” which is brilliant as applied to business because markets are inherently leaderless. It’s trickier to apply this pure and abstract ideal to politics where the voice of the people matters but where voters can and do evaluate candidates as leaders who stand on principle and don’t just do things because they’re popular.

He’s right. The comment I left there:

Actually, I don’t say that campaigns are conversations. In the end, a campaign must be propagandistic: It must be the candidate getting his or her views spread, which includes making your allies spread them for you. The only thing two-way about the Dean campaign was the organizational end (‘hey, kids, let’s invade Iowa’). The messaging was and inevitably is one-way, once the candidate has a stand — and once the campaign has begun, he or she better have a stand. I don’t use propaganstic pejoratively; it’s reality.

Having said that, you’re also right that candidates must listen and there are new ways to listen. So they can be more conversational.

But my real point about the use of YouTube et al is that it allows the candidates to act more conversationally, to look us right in the eye on our small screens after we’ve clicked and talk to us quietly, at a human scale, not from a big platform in a huge crowd. Maybe, just maybe, it also allows us, the voters, to be heard better. But we’ll see.

(Crossposted at

Here we go

Mitt Romney has the dubious honor of giving us the first presidential commercial of the ’08 campaign [via HuffingtonPost Eat the Press] [crossposted at PrezVid]:

He says it’s the time for no more “dithering” in Washington. Dithering. Nice verb. We’re all against dithering. The nice thing about having the first ad is that you have no attacks to respond to yet. Just wait.

YouTube: The new C-SPAN

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s blog — note how that rolls off the keyboard — has been putting up video of representatives floor speeches against the war. That’s fascinating enough but get how they are posting the video: via YouTube. Here is Pelosi’s own YouTube user page.

C-SPAN has been the place to get source information on video: watch and judge for yourself. Now YouTube can take over that role and not just for limited official events but for source video anywhere. [crossposted at PrezVid]

PrezVid: Some video advice for McCain

Here’s a video I just put up on PrezVid, a new show and blog covering the presidential election through the eyes of YouTube (more on that later):

The latest PrezVid show offers advice for John McCain, who unveiled his new web site this weekend with new videos.

McCain’s videos may be ready for prime time, but not for YouTube. He doesn’t speak directly to those of us who are clicking; he speaks off-camera, as if this were an interview, or he speaks through music and polished production, as if this the video were intended for the giant screens at a nominating convention. He doesn’t yet understand that this is a conversation, one-on-one. He appears on an antiseptic, white background, nothing like the homey atmospherics of other candidates’ videos; it’s as if he’s trying out for Star Wars, not the White House.

But McCain has one good idea: He solicits questions for his virtual town hall via YouTube. This means that — unlike in Hillary Clinton’s tete-a-tetes — we will get to see which questions he has the guts to answer and which not. I wonder whether they realized that.

: Since one of you asked in the comments, the embed code for the video is here (under “share”).

And, damn, I wish I’d thought of Tim Shey’s line from the comments:

At one point, it looked like he was about to say, “and I’m a PC.”

: LATER: * To embed this video on your blog (please) cut-and-paste this code:


The resignations of the lightning-rod bloggers hired by Edwards’ campaign is not a good sign for bloggers or for conversation. Now every blogger hired by every campaign — in any position — will have their writing scanned for anything that could offend anyone. Tapioca time.