I've been getting more and more into this citizen journalism thing all summer at OAC blog. I think this is more than just a new kind of blogging for me. I think the next presidential election cycle will witness a whole new kind of emerging media. We're seeing glimpses of it now, but in 2008 this new YouTube people-powered journalism could take off. The new media will be the kind that uses websites like this and sites like YouTube to deliver Citizen Generated Content, stuff that we make and not the campaigns.
A reporter at the Gnomedex conference in Seattle last June asked the room, "Blogs were the big story the last time around, what will the story be next time around?"
Video: What's Next? (2:34)
Follow me below the fold to discuss how we become the story next time around.
The Conventional Wisdom on YouTube:
The current state of Conventional Wisdom on citizen-generated media/content, CGM or CGC, is not very insightful by and large. The New York Times ran a piece a couple of weeks ago discussing the YouTube - gaffe phenomenon a la George 'Macaca' Allen (is he still running for something?)
By Ryan Lizza
August 20, 2006
AUGUST, usually the sleepiest month in politics, has suddenly become raucous, thanks in part to YouTube, the vast videosharing Web site.
Last week, Senator George Allen, the Virginia Republican, was caught on tape at a campaign event twice calling a college student of Indian descent a "macaca," an obscure racial slur.
The student, working for the opposing campaign, taped the comments, and the video quickly appeared on YouTube, where it rocketed to the top of the site's most-viewed list. It then bounced from the Web to the front page of The Washington Post to cable and network television news shows. Despite two public apologies by Senator Allen, and his aides' quick explanations for how the strange word tumbled out, political analysts rushed to downgrade Mr. Allen's stock as a leading contender for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
YouTube's bite also hurt Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, who was defeated by the political upstart Ned Lamont in Connecticut's Democratic primary earlier this month. In that contest, pro-Lamont bloggers frequently posted flattering interviews with their candidate on YouTube and unflattering video of Senator Lieberman. The Lamont campaign even hired a staffer, Tim Tagaris, to coordinate the activities of the bloggers and video bloggers.
When politicians say inappropriate things, many voters will want to know. Now they can see it for themselves on the Web.
But YouTube may be changing the political process in more profound ways, for good and perhaps not for the better, according to strategists in both parties. If campaigns resemble reality television, where any moment of a candidate's life can be captured on film and posted on the Web, will the last shreds of authenticity be stripped from our public officials? Will candidates be pushed further into a scripted bubble? In short, will YouTube democratize politics, or destroy it?
Is it me or is that a stupid question? Sorry Mr. Lizza.
Mr. Lizza focuses too much on the risk adverse angle he hears from professionals and how they feel about YouTube these days. Let's face it if your candidate is stiff and boring then they aren't going to do well with more coverage at all. In that case you want to restrict coverage and script everything.
I think the idea of YouTube changing the story is that YouTube means we generate the content and not the campaigns. That's a big difference. Whatever you end up posting will more than likely be put together from remarks a candidate gives in public, so not every waking moment need be captured to YT. The candidate can certainly craft their remarks anyway they like, but the candidate has no control over the conversation that ensues during one of these vlogs. That's one of the great things about these types of diaries.
Edwards went out to Seattle to a tech conference last June, Gnomedex 6.0.
I bootlegged the live stream and it was pretty good. They had a raucous and interactive discussion on politics, media and technology. This conversation amongst the techies and Edwards fits nicely into this discussion about new media and new technologies helping to create content and dialog. So let's look at what they talked about a bit.
Although the conversation kept coming back to the politics of the day, much to Chris Pirillo's chagrin, a couple of themes were prevalent in the discussion:
Video: Gnomedex Access (4:41)
Give us access! This exchange also gets into the desperate need for authenticity in American politics today.
- Put a blogger on the bus
- "Top Down kills engagement. Just kills it."
Video: Gnomedex Authenticity (8:22)
Long exchanges, but great. Discussion hits on:
- The sorry state of our political discourse vis a vis George Lakoff's book: Don't Think of an Elephant.
Edwards: "Issues don't decide Presidential elections."
- Credibility. Edwards: "All trials are a battle for credibility," more than anything else.
Video: Red Diaper Baby (3:41)
Friday Fun clip? Buzz clip? Banana clip?
Marc Canter tells Democrats far and wide to grow some. Edwards replies, "Now I don't want you to hold back."
Access. What does access look like?
Kos was pleased that Lamont and Edwards chose to give a press conference to the bloggers that was closed to the press and so was I. I was there with about 20 other bloggers, mostly from My Left Nutmeg and Connecticut Local Politics. I also met Christine Stuart from CTNewsJunkie and do you know what September 5th is kiddies? Check out ctkeith in New Haven for a heads up on Tuesday morning in Joe's neighborhood. Can anyone get down there to get some video? Anyone?
Authenticity. That might look like this.
These clips show how much more powerful and authentic a 3-minute clip can be compared to a 10+ second sound bite offered on the news. The latter is the best that we can hope for in the broadcast media. Not having control of the content can be difficult for weak candidates, but all candidates can benefit from this type of CGC on YouTube. This amounts to extended coverage of the on message candidate stumping.
Video: Deval Patrick - Gloucester Highlights 1 (3:34)
"Check back in..." Nice intro to the remarks and a good bit up front about the Grassroots Campaign strategy and how it's worked so stunningly well for Patrick over the last eighteen months.
Video: Deval Patrick - Gloucester Highlights 2 (3:57)
On politics and Katrina, one of the best discussions of the current state of American political dialog, hint - puke.
[On politics] It's as if how to win is really pre-eminent and principle and vision is for the naive and unsophisticated. And it's causing a lot of really good people to check out. And I'm not just talking about at election time, but civic life itself...
[On Democrats] We have perfected a conversation about how to win, but we don't say too much why we should win. We have candidates doing their level best to blur any differences between us and the opposition as a tactic to win without ever saying what we would do with that power once we do win. Poor people and sick people are on their own... I think that's the vision of government that was on display in the Gulf Coast after Katrina. We were ashamed by what we saw and we were right to be ashamed. Those people who were abandoned on their rooftops after Katrina were before that storm.
And many have been waiting for the Democratic Party to make up its mind about what we stand for.
So that's why I'm asking people all over the Commonwealth to stand with me and if you do then we will stand for something again.
Video: Ned Lamont - New Haven (4:22)
Ned's remarks, abbreviated:
I've got to tell you that on Tuesday night it was a pretty good surprise. It was a call for change. People really want to fight for change and that's what we voted for on Tuesday night.
One of the first calls that Joe Lieberman got was from Karl Rove. The first call, the first call, I got was from John Edwards.
[On Universal Health Care] "as a small business guy I can tell you that we have a health care system in this country that is broken... We believe that health care is a basic right for each and every American and we're going to make it happen." Lamont also takes the opportunity to point out that the health care problems facing families also tend to hurt employers and the country's competitiveness in general.
Video: Edwards - Patriotism (3:08)
About our dependence on foreign oil:
Do we need to invest in clean alternatives sources of energy? Of course we do... But it is not the truth to tell the country that we are going to solve our dependence on oil just by [innovation].
We need to ask America for a new kind of patriotism, patriotism about something more than war.
We need to say to the country, `It is important for your country for you to be willing to conserve. It is important for your country for you to be willing to sacrifice.' ...
We cannot drive vehicles that get 12 miles to the gallon and think that we're going to solve this problem. It will never happen.
By the way, I do this on my own dime and don't work for any of these campaigns. Using YouTube to broadcast paid for political speech is far different from what I'm talking about here.
How many voters need to have access to this kind of stuff to make this the big story next time around? How many people need to be accessing YouTube political speeches and events to make a dent in the process? Twenty five thousand people? A million? Two million? Ten?
YouTube has the bandwidth, now we can provide content.
August 2006: Guerrilla Vlogger: Meet Deval Patrick
August 2006: Guerrilla Vlogger: Lamont and Edwards in New Haven
August 2006: Guerrilla Vlogger: WakeUp Wal-Mart Assignment, Pittsburgh
August 2006: Guerrilla Vlogger: Patriotism for something more than War, Iowa
July 2006: Guerrilla Campaign: Iowa w/YouTube video
Edwards in Manchester September 4th, NH for AFL-CIO march and rally on Monday September 4th
Deval Patrick & Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) in Worcester, MA September 8th, for a primary kick-off rally. This vlog will also have debate clips from the Thursday September 7th debate at 8:00PM EDT on channels: 5, 2, 7, NECN and live audio streaming is available at WBUR 90.9
Elizabeth Edwards in Boston on her book tour, TBD date, for Saving Graces
... in stores September 19th.
See you out there...