Thursday, October 21, 2010

YouTube and Governors

It turns out that I have something in common with many of the state governors in the United States. We use YouTube to get our message out: My message is about learning economics. Theirs is political:

YouTube use by governors is a bipartisan activity. Seventeen Republicans, 20 Democrats and one independent — Florida Gov. Charlie Crist— currently have videos posted there, the review shows.

Some, like Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, are using online videos for their campaigns ads. Others, such as Democrat Jim Doyle in Wisconsin, are using YouTube to broadcast official speeches and events. Two governors, Crist and Democratic West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, are using YouTube videos in their U.S. Senate campaigns.

Not all gubernatorial YouTube attempts have been successful:

•Republican Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's remembrance of Hurricane Katrina survivor stories captured eight page views the first six weeks it was online.

•Republican Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman's speech about a new health science center received just eight views in the year it spent online.

•A video uploaded by Democratic Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson about flu prevention gathered 17 views in the year it was online.

Despite the lack of interest in these extreme circumstances, I like the use of the video sharing technology. As long as the governors have something interesting to say, YouTube can allow them to speak directly to their constituents. On the other hand, if they don't have anything interesting or useful to say, their constituents will find out more quickly. Both are benefits in my opinion.

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