John Edwards on YouuuuTuuuube

So John Edwards announced his presidential announcement on YouTube in a video made by Andrew Baron and Joanne Colan of Rocketboom (who put up their own interview the next day) and Chuck Olsen (who, Andrew reports, is flying with Edwards to make video for the official campaign site). The digital cool doesn’t end there. Edwards tells you to text the word “hope” to a given number to get more instructions; how mobile. As NewTeeVee reports, he has Robert Scoble trailing around with a camera as well. He’s “live-bloggin” (their usage, not the usual meaning) at Daily Kos. He’s trying to create is own sort of Peace Corps called One Corps with people signing up online to do good deeds under his brand (they will “fight poverty” and, oh, while they’re at it, flog candidates who “support One America ideals’ [that was the old name of this campaign effort] and spread the word by calling radio stations). And tonight he’s having an online town hall from Iowa.

How cyber can you get?

Is this all just a publicity stunt to look modern and cool or is this a turning point in how campaigns are run? We’ll know in about a decade.

From a media perspective, Edwards got to put his message out there without reporters and gatekeepers. It didn’t get out far without them, though; this morning, he had fewer than 10,000 views on YouTube. I also wish there had been reporters there who’d pushed him on his answers. Instead, we get his platitudinous and oprahesque message: It’s about change — it’s always about change. “We have to accept responsibility. We have to change the country.” Why? How? He gets to put up his own “news” and interviews with himself: “I actually want the country to see who I am, who I truly am. . . . I’d rather be successful or unsuccessful based on who I really am not based on some plastic Ken doll you put up in front of audiences.” Then again, his video lives in a space of other Edwards moments: We see Ken John getting made up in he feels pretty, for example, and we see Wal-Mart counterattack.

Will this campaign still be run by broadcast and cable TV and advertising? I fear so. But just as blogs are now simply part of the media landscape — read and used by journalists, pundits, and politicians — so will the video of campaigns be part of the fabric of campaigns: the candidates’ own statements, their own embarrassing moments, and more.

  • You can find Newt Gingrich out there too. It’s gonna be a YouTube campaign. Very interesting.

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  • TLB

    In the history of blogdom, has any blogger (besides myself) ever asked a politician or pundit a deliberately tough question designed to reveal flaws in that person’s policies (and not just a Mike Stark-style smear)? The new youtube campaigns will probably be just like the last: commercials, press releases, treacle from the candidates, treacle from bloggers who are fanboys/girls for the candidates, smears, and the occasional barely-watched dissenting voice.

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  • No no no. This is not the way to use Daily Kos or to blog. First comment on what the others are discussing (participate, really participate) – not use the platform to make announcements. Seeking feedback seems fine to me – but not as your first foray.

    Wouldn’t it be cool if John, or any high profile politician, simply dropped in and contributed to the on-going conversation?

  • Rocketboom needs to address some transparency issues here. Of concern to me is folks posting on Rocketboom are saying “great scoop!” To me a scoop is the result of enterprising journalism (blog, vlog, msm, whatever) not a big wet kiss. Here’s part of what i posted on Andrew’s blog Dembot.

    “Hey if Rocketboom backs Edwards good on ya! Just don’t lead your viewers down a garden path. Scoble laid out some disclosure statements… sho should you.”


  • MinorRipper

    Remember back in 1996 when Bob Dole announced his website during a debate with Bill Clinton? That didn’t get him too far, did it. All the tech-savviness in the world won’t win a presidential election, although Edwards’ might save some cash by spending on the web versus TV.

  • This aint journalism, it’s advertising.

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  • beachmom

    Nick Nichols — interesting point about dailykos, and joining in to comment. It’s a little known fact that John Kerry did that, although the diary was kind of related to him. Here’s the link:

    It was written by a guy named Gary Norton whose brother, a VVAW protester from 1971, was featured in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads. I don’t believe that this brother and Kerry knew each other (there were at least 1,000 protesters), nor was this guy part of the Kerry campaign. Nevertheless, his image was displayed everywhere, and he was essentially smeared even though he wasn’t involved in ’04. The diary is a poignant story about Gary’s brother and what he did in Vietnam.

    Kerry commented right at the bottom like a whisper. Here is a link:

  • Billyism

    John Edwards knows a lot about [poverty, after all, he’s helped throw a lot of people into it with:

    – his co-sponsorship of H-1b visas,

    – his support for illegal aliens,

    – his vote for MFN-China

    but what about stuff like iraq war and the patriot act?

    well, he voted for them too

    About the only think you can say for Edwards is, he spent so much time running for president that he didnt have time to do more damage as senator

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