Use of Internet and Politics

By js, 7 November, 2008, No Comment

After this election, many political science scholars will become interested in studying how the internet was used in this election, especially the use of videos and video web sites like Youtube.

TechCrunch was one source which discusses it

Politics: “Obama Would Not Have Won Without The Internet”

by Michael Arrington on November 7, 2008

New York Magazine’s John Heilemann is leading a panel at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this morning on “The Web and Politics.” Joining him is San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome, Arianna Huffington and Joe Trippi.

The session jumped right off with Heilemann saying the Internet played a disruptive role in the 2008 election in the same way television played a disruptive role in the 1960 election of John F. Kennedy to president. Neither medium was new in the respective elections, but both “came of age” and swung the election towards the winning candidate. Kennedy, in particular, used television ads extensively in his campaign to reach the American voters directly.

Huffington says flat out that if it wasn’t for the Internet, Obama would not be president. Trippi notes that Obama’s YouTube spots gathered an aggregate of 14.5 million viewing hours. The Internet was used by candidate previously, he said, noting the Howard Dean campaign, but Obama really leveraged it fully with online video, blogging, social networking and fundraising.

This conversation has been happening for a longer period of time. This next story

The YouTube-ification of politics: Candidates losing control from July 18, 2007 also discusses how candidates can use the internet but cannot always control the message and how people distribute the message.

Many people have been active in commenting and criticizing the tactics of certain media

These videos demonstrate that they do make a difference. This is a powerful medium for persuasion and for counterargument. Instead of resisting it or wishing that it goes away, one must be willing to consider how we can use this medium as a rhetorical tool which can help us make the arguments which will help our cause.

YouTube Politics :YouTube Shines Light on Dirty Politics

January 08, 2008

‘Terrorist’ is just the beginning.

How video vigilantes are outing whisper campaigns in US presidential campaign.

By Ben Shingler
Published: October 21, 2008

The story YouTube for president? compares how the two candidates have used videos on their websites.

Together, Barack Obama and John McCain’s YouTube channels have received more than 100 million video views — though it’s telling to look at the different ways the two campaigns use the service. As of this writing, McCain’s channel contained just over 300 videos, with about 20 million views in all. Nearly all of his videos are short, well-produced pieces that look like, and in many cases are, TV commercials. Of his top 10 most-viewed videos, only one of them — a nearly eight-minute clip of a Sarah Palin speech — breaks that mold.

Obama, by contrast, had more than 1,500 videos on his site, totaling about 80 million views. Many of them, like McCain’s, are similar to TV commercials, but that is hardly the rule for Obama. Hundreds of his videos are more like campaign training manuals or appear to be microtargeted at a narrow sliver of viewers — Republicans in Ohio, for instance, or absentee voters in Michigan. But even those obscure videos have been viewed thousands of times. At the other end of the spectrum, only one of Obama’s top 10 most-viewed videos is a 30-second commercial. The rest are longer TV appearances and speeches, including Obama’s famous speech on race, which was 37 minutes long and has been viewed more than 6 million times.

Americans of all ages have become 21st-century pamphleteers. Sometime today you will open a political message from someone you know and click on a link. Odds are that link will take you to YouTube. In the same way that television was recognized as the medium that changed political communications during the presidential campaign of 1960, online video and YouTube will be recognized as the medium that changed it for 2008. Regardless of who wins the most votes on Nov. 4, the technological winner is YouTube and, by extension, democracy.

Toni Morrison in an interview given to ABC News calls Obama’s election and presidency the beginning of a  participatory democracy.

Would this participatory democracy have been possible without the tools which empower everyone to have a voice which can gain an audience?


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