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.