April 13, 2006

The YouTube Presidency

In 2004 the American political system began to come to grips with the internet era. They got the ecommerce bit down real quick. Howard Dean lead the way and everyone copied him before he could even finish shrieking. 2004 also marked the point where online media, blogs in particular began to make themselves noticed, although their overall impact on the results of that election is probably rather minimal. Here in 2006 blogs are pretty much taken for granted, although just what the impact of that will be is uncertain. And what's about to get noticed I think is YouTube.

Unless YouTube has taken it down, embedded below should be a clip poetically titled "President Bush pants like a dog". Not exactly what the White House media team wants you to watch is it? But like it or not this looks like the new style, the new format for video, and what sells on YouTube isn't exactly what sells on the 6 O'Clock news. I doubt it will have much impact on these upcoming elections, other than perhaps an outlier or two of sorts, but what happens in 2008? Instead of a president who looks good on TV are we going to have a president with the best MySpace profile and the ability to make the funniest YouTube clips?

Jokes aside, politicians are going to have to come to grips with the new way people watch TV/video. And that's not an easy task as TV appears to be in a bifurcation of sorts. On one hand people want to come home to longer and far more complex shows to play in their Tivos, and on the other hand they want the funniest and dumbest clips to watch on their desks at work. Is the YouTube president the one who avoids making the biggest mistakes, or the one who can constantly generate positive viral clips to feed the streams?

Perhaps the answer is to skip participating and just become the host. I thought up most of this post sitting is Steven Johnson's class where someone quite aptly compared YouTube to America's Funniest Home Videos, which I might add is much better than my own "like TV only worse". And if being the host is the way out and YouTube is really America's Funniest well then there is the answer to 2008, Bob Saget for president!

Posted by Abe at April 13, 2006 06:31 PM

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