YouTube’s Role in Election 2008

    March 1, 2007

YouTube is diving into political waters with their voter education initiative YouTube You Choose 08. The new initiative is designed to allow political candidates to communicate with voters about their campaigns using video.

2008 presidential hopefuls who currently have their own channel on YouTube are Republicans Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney. The Democrats are Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson.

“Online video has quickly become an essential way for the general public to become politically informed and empowered," said Chad Hurley, YouTube Co-Founder and CEO. "At its core, YouTube is about democracy and self-expression and we’re proud to be providing politicians with an environment where they can share information with voters."

The YouTube You Choose 08 will feature campaign videos, speeches, informal chats and behind-the scenes footage. The platform will allow potential voters to participate in dialogue with candidates using video responses, text comments and ratings.

YouTube is not the only site that is offering candidates a place to communicate their message. Earlier this week Veoh and Senator John McCain created a channel for the candidate. One would expect that other presidential hopefuls would branch out beyond YouTube and embrace any platform that is available. Though clearly YouTube has the numbers when it comes to audience.

Currently the YouTube site is restricted to candidates who are registered with political parties. There is the possibility that they may allow for political organizations that support or are against candidates to enter the arena at a later time.

"YouTube provides a unique opportunity to connect directly with voters," said Christian Ferry, eCampaign Director for Senator John McCain’s Exploratory Committee. "The ability for voters to give direct, unfiltered feedback and insight into the issues that matter most to them is an invaluable asset to the Senator."

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