Heather Greenfield called a couple of weeks ago when she was working on this article, and National Journal’s Technology Daily has kindly given permission for me to reprint it.
YouTube Boom May Mean New Jobs On Campaigns
by Heather Greenfield
Online campaign strategists are predicting such an explosion of video-sharing next election cycle that they said campaigns should add online video experts to their staffs.
Last election cycle, many of the bigger campaigns had Internet strategists either on staff or as consultants. Those experts handled anything from maintaining online communications to contacting bloggers and monitoring video-sharing sites like YouTube. But the job of monitoring what is being said about campaigns on YouTube is growing as video production becomes cheaper, more people learn to do it, and free sites go online.
Strategists predict that bigger campaigns will be dealing with hundreds of rogue postings each month and that they need a strategy for monitoring them and deciding how to respond, as well as the staff to respond rapidly.
“The upcoming presidential election will hinge on the use of technology and the rapid response to potentially damaging imagery,” Ed Morrissey wrote at his Web log Captain’s Quarters.
“Monitoring is going to be a huge art of the battle,” added Colin Delany of epolitics.com, which offers advice aimed at Democratic candidates. “You can’t respond if you don’t know about it.”
David All, who recently left the office of Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., to open his own online media consulting business, said campaigns can automate the monitoring to a degree. But he and Delany said having a team in place will be critical for the rapid response to YouTube attacks often posted by anonymous enemies.
When consultants say rapid, they means hours, not days, and that requires change among traditional campaign strategists who until now could better control campaign messages.
The wake-up call that created buzz among bloggers last week was a 13-year-old video of Mitt Romney answering a debate question with moderate stance, instead of a conservative one, on abortion. Romney drew praise from bloggers for answering the video within hours, and his reaction is now a model for consultants.
In a world where video spreads within minutes, Delany said it is better to respond with something almost as quickly and to take more production time for a video or audio download later. He said a campaign staff can immediately post a comment on video-sharing sites to explain the other side of the story or even just link to the candidate’s official Web site.
“Your opponent’s attack creates an opportunity for you to educate,” Delany said.
All said it helps to shoot general video before an attack during this slower time in the campaign season, including video of the candidate interacting with constituents and speaking on issues. He said by cataloguing the video, it could be easy to put together a response video later.
Another key component, All said, will be finding a team of online supporters to help collect, produce and spread the video that the campaign wants others to see, and to help bury unfavorable postings on content rating sites like Digg.com.
One quick note: e.politics is officially nonpartisan…