Obama: The first YouTube President

No president before Obama has engaged technology and the Internet on the road to the Whitehouse.  Two weeks after winning the election but still two months from taking his place in the oval office, Barak Obama released his first video address on YouTube as president-elect.  In a matter of days his three minute informal video chat was racking up hundreds of thousands of viewers, and many blogs were linking to it.  This is viral marketing as it is known among Internet marketers.

Obama is our first YouTube President.  Obama is young, uses a Blackberry, and presumably is computer and Internet proficient, but the folks that really made him a star on the Internet was his support network of geeks and business and marketing saavy advisors.  The last several presidents and their staffs and advisors  mirrored many folks of the older generation, many of whom had no interest in using computers or technology for any reason.  Ever wonder when our generation would finally catch up to the modern power of the Internet?  It just did when Bush left office and Obama arrived.

There’s a proverb that says, “Surround yourself with wise counselors.” That’s a good statement, and it appears Obama has done that, or should I say it appears Obama is surrounded by reasonably intelligent men and women who live in the technology generation.  It’s really not a big surprise or a sea-change of any kind.  It’s simply a recognition of a technology and tools that have been around for a decade or more.  Thank God someone in Washington is finally awake to the value of these tools.  But make no mistake:  it’s not Obama who is the technology man–it’s his advisors.  Good for them.

Good for Obama, too, because they got him elected.  Obama’s YouTube video channel received 20.3 million visits since September of 2006.  Obama’s opt-ins have generated a database of supporters totalling 13 million.  His supporters  gathered over one million cell phone numbers, and raised over half a billion dollars on the Internet.  Maybe Obama’s people could use the Internet to raise funds to bail out our financial institutions, the automobile industry, manufacturing, and the real estate industry.

In all the hype about Obama being the first YouTube President, there is some grumbling among the bloggers and supporters.  The sales pitch Obama used in his campaign was that he would govern from the bottom up, not the top down, meaning that he would listen to the people, get their input and lead as their president according to the wishes of the people.  What soon became apparent on his video channel is that he had completely shut off all comments and feedback from anyone.  People could not do what they had been doing on the Internet, which was have a two-way communication, or at least the ability to comment or associate videos.  Obama’s people made sure that all Obama’s communications were one way, top down.  Very controlled, and scripted.  This has not pleased his supporters.

One could argue there is good and bad in this new political model to elect presidents (and soon governors, senators, congressman, mayors, and school board members).  The good is that whoever has the best Internet presence is going to have a huge advantage.  The bad is that someone could use this model to get elected over someone who is much better qualified.

Politics is changing, but so is everything, and largely because of technology and the Internet.  Are you on board?  Do you have a YouTube channel yet?  Come on gramma, get some videos on YouTube.  Your grandchildren will be impressed.  And so will the rest of the world.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Photo Gallery

Log in | Copyright 2010 Chuck Marunde, J.D.