The social media results of the Obama campaign are impressive, mostly regarding the use of Youtube. Today at the Web 2.0 Summit, a panel composed of Arianna Huffington, Joe Trippi, and Gavin Newsom discussed the implications of the Youtube-isation of the politics.
The Obama Youtube campaign converted into 14.5 million hours of accumulated video views, a reach that would have cost $47 million on TV, half of McCain’s total campaign budget. A hit! The panel seemed to be divided into 2 separate opinions: Mayor Gavin Newsome complains that today, politicians are “In a reality TV series in politics 24/7“. Joe Trippi replies “We are all human beings and people are going to see that. Get used to it.” SF’s Mayor pushes the argumentation, saying there was in America and “just a block away from here” a whole section of society who “had no clue what we are talking about” (numeric gap).
So basically Joe Trippi says: The viral ability of video transforms civic engagement; Mayor Newsome says: It is just pure gossiping. Obviously, both are right, and Newsome shouldn’t complain about it. Youtube didn’t exist BC 5,000, but the birthing democratic system in Greece grew through the same means of exposition:
The political communities of the classical world … had surprisingly weak and decentralized governments, with nothing we would recognize as a police force. Yet, notoriously, these city-states were class societies, in which powerful elites managed to maintain dominance. … Where did the power of the ruling class come from, if not from a powerful state? … [R]uling classes maintained their power through the device of patronage …. In effect, the wealthy classes kept control not through organized violence but by buying off the poor. Each wealthy family would have a large following of commoners who served their patrons’ interests (e.g., supporting aristocratic policies in the public assembly) in exchange for the family’s largesse.
Some politicians would even leave their home’s doors open to the public… To my opinion, it is a very sane approach to democracy, where the value of transparency is preserved. Opening the doors of the white House would probably not work, logistics-wise. But online life streaming is the perfect solution for politicians to connect with citizens, and control the information about their personal lives.