Matthew Bernius a Visiting Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology (I checked the RTI directory for confirmation) has written a interesting blog post about the video Edwards and Obama are using online. Its called a tale of two candidateâ€™s video distribution strategies and it compares and contrasts the two candidates use of online video. He also links to our response to the Edward’s announcement video. Here is the part I’d like to comment on.
These examples highlight an interesting problem for candidates: while YouTube offers tools to manage posting comments, you cannot control what content your page links to. In going to â€œwhere the people are,â€ you leave yourself open to direct commentary from the people. Counter-commentary may be located directly beside your stumping. Contrast this to Brightcoveâ€™s promise of control, an interface that does not link directly to intertextual documents. Additionally, even when you find commentary on Brightcove, it is coming from established sources. While you might get criticized it is coming from the media, rather than the people you are trying to reach.
To me the trade off of not being able to control people’s response to your message is a fair one. The fact is the Internet and personal publishing (text, audio, and video) has radically transformed global communication, permanently. You can not stop people from sharing their opinions, online or otherwise.
Some old school campaign advisers and PR folks may think that the main stream media has the loudest final word on truth about politicians. Wrong. Perception is an important factor. Word of mouth effects perception more than traditional media. Why? Trust. People don’t trust corporate media as much as they used to.
The democratization of communication has let loose a giant amount of opinions and facts hereto unavailable to so many people. It balances and counterbalances the spin corporate media has on it. The Internet give us choice and teaches us how to be responsible media users. (previously known as media consumers)
Our future will be full of interesting “battles” between main stream media and the media maker “hordes”. If we look at the math I think its obvious that the billions of users-producers will win over the thousands of traditional media producers. Whether the content is good, bad, fair, or unfair the shear volume of content will tip the scales on who we trust.
So why shouldn’t new political candidates WORK WITH the people who will make media and vote? Working with people builds real grassroots campaigns. Right now Edwards is running a netroots video campaign and Obama isn’t. Your analysis may vary.
Hat tip to Ruby for sending me the link.