March 28th, 2007
Though U.S. presidential campaigns’ use of YouTube has gotten plenty of attention lately, advocacy campaigns aren’t being left out of the online video revolution. An article in the new blog Together We Can Make a Difference finds 2,030 videos tagged on YouTube as “non-profit” (an increase from 76 in August) and also collects examples of advocacy videos from around the world. For instance, as reported in MIT’s Technology Review,
A left-wing group whose street protests over the unsolved murders of activists have been blocked by Philippine police has turned instead to the Internet to spread its message…[the] large left-wing group, Bayan, has created its own channel on Google’s popular YouTube video-sharing site to post videos of slain activists and violent dispersals of street protests.
TWCMAD also links to anti-gay videos from Christian activists in Europe and to activists’ use of video in an anti-Starbucks campaign. Slate amplifies the point today in a piece on human rights activists’ efforts to de-Gitmo-ize detainees:
Critics pooh-pooh the importance of all of this by pointing to the fact that civil rights advocates have traditionally had a friend in the press. But they’re missing the point: YouTube goes where the mainstream media can’t or won’t go. It’s visceral. It’s story first, message second. And it gives advocates instant access to an audience in a way that press releases and op-eds never can.
Besides the video article, TWCMAD also has a nice piece on non-profits and user-generated content this week. As an aside, this site illustrates an excellent tactic that blogs can use to build traffic: linking to a more-established site. I found the new blog when the author linked to e.politics and provided a trackback, which I’m astonished that more people don’t use. Of course, this clearly means that I’m now the Establishment and hence must work to undermine myself — perhaps a few lunchtime gin and tonics would be a good start?
Update: Josh Levy, wearing his PDF hat today, points to a terrific video parody just created by an Australian group to bring attention to their countryman David Hicks, currently a “guest” at Guantanamo Bay:
For more about creating effective advocacy and political video, see this article from February.