Obama’s ‘fireside chats’ take the high (tech) road in cyberspace

A couple of posts ago, I blogged about Obama’s clever use of new media and how that’s helped him to win the recent US Presidential elections. In fact, he’s come to be known as the Youtube President!

Not surprisingly then, that Obama has chosen to stay on the Youtube course and use it to broadcast his weekly address to the American public (actually, he now has the potential to address an international audience as well). 

Obama is giving what is known as the traditional weekly radio broadcast by US Presidents, a tradition started by Roosevelt, a modern-day twist. Back then, and since then, the ‘fireside chats’ of the various Presidents have been broadcast on radio. Now, with new media, Obama has found an added channel to reach out to the public, especially the younger set that forms the Youtube and Facebook generation.

What’s also interesting is that by going direct to Youtube, the Obama administration has greater control over what is broadcast. According to the Straits Times article on Obama’s online chats, Obama and his people could “would curb the power of a traditional but often unpopular middleman between presidents and the populace: the mainstream media”. This means that the public get a dose of Obama unadulterated and unmediated (as much as non-mediation via media is allowed). Doing this would also make Obama’s government “more transparent“.

Obama’s first Youtube address after he won the elections is available on his website: www.change.gov. Subsequent addresses can also be viewed there.

In fact, this website has proved to be a source of information on Obama and the directions he’s taking as the President-elect.

And with Youtube videos being so embed-able, his address would be seen by so many more, due to the viral nature of ‘marketing’ on new media.

Now, I’ve mentioned previously as well that our local political groups could also learn something from the Obama campaign and its use of new media. Just yesterday, there was news that PAP is aiming to click with the young by letting the IT-savvy watch short videos of PAP MPs at events on its revamped PAP website.

Party chairman Lim Boon Heng said, “New media is facilitating change. Our party is gearing up our resources to harness this new platform.” In fact, on the Young PAP website, there are articles on new media and its social impact

Now, while it’s good and timely for our local political parties to incorporate the use of new media, I believe more must be done than just posting videos of MPs at events. More could be done to harness the power of new media to reach out to the public and allow for the age of participation and a new generation of digital natives. Perhaps the digital natives out there would like to share how better engagement could be achieved via new media.


About blogscapes
An intrepid explorer into the the brave new dimensions of the blogosphere and new media landscape.

8 Responses to Obama’s ‘fireside chats’ take the high (tech) road in cyberspace

  1. Pingback: The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Daily SG: 19 Nov 2008

  2. Jensen says:

    Hi. Your latest post actually led me to watch the US elections results as well as the acceptance speech of US President Elect Barack Obama. I have to admit, his speech reaches deep into the hearts of the people. Perhaps everyone is tired of the problems, issues and all the crisis, so much so that Obama is seen as a world saviour. If he keeps his word and does what he had promised, then not only will he save the US, he’d literally save the world too. I realized that when I was watching the 20 minutes acceptance speech on Youtube, many a times I felt tears welling to my eyes. He has won the votes and hearts of his people. Something which very few could do.

    I believe that Barack Obama’s use of the new media for communicating his messages has had enormous impact on the masses, and probably was the deciding factor that influenced the voters, leading to his more-than-marginal win. I feel that he has chosen his media medium correctly. People donated to his cause and thronged to his support. In my opinion, Barack Obama is a winner, even before he won the elections.

    The PAP has always been working hard to bridge the gap between the seniors and the young generation. With all the events featuring young ministers joining in the fun, their effort is visible. I admire Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, currently Minister for Community Development, for his active participation in various activities and engaging the young. In fact, based on a search on Wikipedia, Dr. Vivian is also the Chairman of “Young PAP”, another effort by the PAP to connect with the younger generation of Singapore. Singaporean youths need to know that what we have now, isnt just a few days’ work. I fear that the current generation of youths if given the power to vote, would aid in ousting the PAP out of parliament, not knowing what is really in-store for them. It is scary, VERY. (I shan’t elaborate further on this as the issue is rather controversial.)

    Anyway, examples of powerful speeches include William Wallace’s speech to his Scottish countrymen, Lee Kuan Yew’s speech to fellow Singaporeans during the tumultous days, and even in movies, Aragorn II’s speech in the final battle at Mordor in “Lord of the Rings- Return of the King”. Be enthralled by the unseen, yet strongest weapon of humanity – Words.

  3. Pingback: The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Weekly Roundup: Week 47

  4. blogscapes says:

    Thanks for your thought-ful comments, Jensen.

    Indeed, new media has been powerful in helping Obama and many others reach out to others. I would imagine that LKY’s speech would have had greater impact if new media were available then!

    As Obama has shown, great rhetoric as well as great reach leads to great hope! Let’s also hope that all that will lead to tangible benefits for the US and I dare say, the rest of the world too.

  5. Pingback: PAP and New Media « Blogscapes

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  7. Caramoan · says:

    when i was quite younger, i alway enjoy online chatting with friends and relatives —

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