Archive for July 24th, 2007

It Worked! Though Not a Revolution, The YouTube Debate Impressed

Cross-posted on techPresident

The YouTube debate may not have revolutionized politics, but it sure as hell was more of a pleasure to watch than your average political event. I’d read both hype and skepticism in the days beforehand, and I suspect that ultimately the new format will have a bigger effect on the debates themselves than on the political process. Still, it brought home the hollowness of much of our scripted political speech, since those candidates who could break through the rhetoric and speak with a human voice really stood out. And it demonstrated the real potential of citizen politics — sometimes a million monkeys banging away on keyboards WILL produce quality.

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YouTube Debate Questions and Video Production

Guest article! David Newland — screenwriter, producer and former National Geographic web video guy — watched last night’s debate with the eyes of a man who’s seen (and created) more online video than he’d probably like to remember. He has both debate analysis and practical advice for future questioners.

YouTube Debate Questions and Video Production

The debate is done and I am happy. Now, a few caveats up front. I am of mixed opinion about whether this was a one-time stunt, or if user-submitted videos will become a fixture in politics, and yes, the YouTube submissions were filtered through CNN, so we may have seen only the best produced videos (a brief glance at some of the non-chosen videos on YouTube seem to bear this out).

But still, people actually produced quality amateur videos.

I had expected to see question after question in the “video confessional” mode ala Lonelygirl15 and a million other YouTube videos — a person sitting in front of their computer, in a face-warping close up, with a junk background. Videos that burn my eyes and strain my ears. And yes, about half of those videos were like that.

But the other half showed production values. They showed effort and thought, and as amateur video submissions, that’s what I’m looking for. A 50% success rate? That’s pretty good. We are not only a media-savvy culture, we are apparently a media-producing-savvy culture, too.

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