Here’s the original video below:
Five days, over 2 million views.
“I began my presidential campaign here to remind the country that we, as citizens and as a government, have a moral responsibility to each other, and what we do together matters. We must do better, if we want to live up to the great promise of this country that we all love so much.
“It is appropriate that I come here today. It’s time for me to step aside so that history can blaze its path. We do not know who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but what we do know is that our Democratic Party will make history. We will be strong, we will be unified, and with our convictions and a little backbone we will take back the White House in November and we’ll create hope and opportunity for this country.”
Analysis: John Edwards was the first candidate to announce his bid for the presidency in 2008. He did so on YouTube first, while working to rebuild New Orleans–with his own hands. Below is that video. Edwards provided a strong voice for the poor of this country and took a courageous stand on not receiving money from lobbyists. My guess is that the timing of his departure — before Super Tuesday next week –may be intended to help Barack Obama do better against Hillary Clinton.
News: You can download from the link above my latest report on the use of videos on YouTube by the presidential candidates. The study was completed before the New Hampshire primary.
Analysis: Here are my 3 key findings:
(1) Republican candidate Ron Paul continues to be, by a wide margin, the most popular candidate on YouTube, in terms of the average number of views per video (105,908 views per video) and the number of subscribers to his YouTube channel (42,858). He also has the most total views (9,320,763) on YouTube for any presidential candidate (although he does not have the most viewed single video on YouTube—Mike Huckabee does).
(2) Republican candidate Mike Huckabee has experienced a dramatic growth in the popularity of his videos during November and December 2007. He jumped from close to the worst in average number of views in October 2007 to the second most views per video by January 4, 2008, with 27,818 views per video. Most impressive of all is the fact that Huckabee is the first candidate with a video that has generated over 1 million views on YouTube.
(3) Finally, as the primary season has begun, the candidates’ YouTube videos have seen a huge increase in the number of views than in previous months.
News: The Des Moines Register and YouTube will be soliciting videos from people on the Iowa caucuses as things unfold. You can submit your video starting today.
News: YouTube and TV stations from Manchester and from Boston have announced a partnership for the New Hampshire primary. People will be allowed to upload videos to the YouTube sites of the 2 TV stations for instant commentary on the primary.
I used to be a political junkie in high school and a little in college. Not anymore these days. But I do think I have a modest skill in analyzing the political landscape. Several years ago, I told a friend of mine that Rudy Giuliani will be the front runner to get the Republican nomination. He said there’s no way the conservatives would back him, the guy had too much baggage and liberal leaning social policies. I said, 9/11.
Then, just several months ago, I suggested to another friend that Mike Huckabee has a chance on the Republican side. That was when the political pundits said that he had none. Well, today, Huckabee is leading the polls in Iowa. You heard that right, Huckabee is now on top in Iowa. And he’s surging in the polls nationally. Apparently, getting the endorsement of Chuck Norris helped.
Huckabee’s also surging on YouTube. His first video with Chuck Norris (see below) is, by my account, the only video on YouTube from one of the candidates, Republican or Democrat, that has received over 1 million views.
By the way, none of this post should be taken as my endorsement of any candidate.
News: Fox had its second debate this week for the Republican presidential candidates. The best, most substantive exchange occurred between Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul.
Analysis: The debate format should allow more of these exchanges, where the candidates can engage each other in a more open debate. CNN and YouTube should take notes for their Republican debate in December. If you’re wondering, the FOX Internet poll after the debate had, you guessed it, Ron Paul winning the debate.
News: It’s official: Fred Thompson is running for President. His channel on YouTube is now running.
Analysis: Was this taped from the set of Law & Order?
News: The Detroit Free Press has this excellent article analyzing how YouTube affects, if not frightens, politicians. Here’s a snippet:
“But the angst about how easily it is to ridicule someone online was reflected in the questions I was asked. One woman representative said someone took a picture of her face and superimposed another body underneath that “was dressed in pajamas” and used it in a YouTube parody. “Is that legal?” she asked.
“I couldn’t help but snicker.
“You laugh,” she said, “But that was embarrassing to me.”
“So were the objects of the crude cartoons used to disparage candidates back in the old pamphleteering days, I said. It’s just that the Internet makes political ridicule more immediate. If you’re in the public eye, you’re going to get your’s blackened from time to time.”
News: For the past couple months, I’ve been collecting data on all the presidential candidates’ videos on YouTube. Today, I’m publishing my first report, “Analyzing the Presidential Candidate Videos on YouTube August 2007.”
The report reaches two basic findings for the presidential candidate videos thus far:
(1) The presidential candidates have gained only a relatively modest amount of views and subscribers to their YouTube videos; and
(2) Republican candidate Ron Paul is, by a wide margin, the most popular candidate on YouTube, in terms of the average number of views per video and the number of subscribers to his YouTube channel. He also has the most total views on YouTube for any presidential candidate.
Here’s one slice of the report:
Download the report: The Utube Blog study August 2007.doc
(Copyright permission: Please feel free to copy the report and re-use it, including the graphs, in other works, as long as attribution is given to Professor Edward Lee and The Utube Blog. Thanks.)
News: The backlash appears already in full force, as both Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney decided — for “scheduling” and “snowman” reasons — to skip the scheduled YouTube debate co-sponsored by the Republican party of Florida. (More from Wash Post) The debate, planned for September, has been scrapped for now, given the no-shows by the 2 leading Republicans. The blog world has been abuzz with how this will hurt their campaigns.
Analysis: My guess, and hope, is that it will all be worked out at a different time. If Giuliani and Romney don’t join, that will only look bad for them. If someone like Fred Thompson joined by then for a rescheduled debate, those two would have no choice but to be a part of the debate.
News: More video of Ron Paul’s visit to Google on July 13. Looks like Dr. Paul blew away the crowd. It’s still hard to believe that Ron Paul is the most exciting candidate of all the candidates so far. At least on the Internet and YouTube, Ron Paul is a rock star.
I promise to have my study of the Ron Paul YouTube phenomenon soon.
News: The first “experiment” is over. Today, we have time to reflect on what happened — and didn’t happen — in last night’s presidential debate for the Democratic candidates. As I said in my last post, I give CNN and YouTube an A for the idea of user-generated questions, but a C+ for the execution. Here’s what CNN messed up (although the Democratic Party and candidates may have been responsible for the format):
1. There was no opportunity for real debate or exchanges among candidates. The candidates had only 1 minute or 30 seconds to answer questions. No substantive question was asked of each of the candidates–meaning we never got the chance to compare all the candidates on a single question, even though many of the YouTube users posed their questions specifically to the entire group of candidates. For a 2 hour debate, that’s pretty appalling.
CNN, however, chose not to allow all the candidates a chance to answer. Sen. Dodd even expressed frustration at not having a chance to answer the important question about global warming. The only question that CNN posed to the entire group of candidates was the stupid last question in which the candidates were asked to say something they liked about the candidate on their left, and then something they didn’t like. Are we back in 1st grade?
2. Anderson Cooper played favorites with the candidates and skipped over Senator Gravel. Sen. Mike Gravel protested not getting asked many questions compared to the other candidates repeatedly during the debate. By my count, Gravel got only 9 questions (often trivial ones), while Barack Obama got 19 questions. Don’t even include the guy on stage if you are not really going to include him in the debate.
3. CNN excluded all questions from children, but then included a question from a snowman. Cooper said that he thought the parents were using their children to ask their questions. So what? The guy who used the snowman got on CNN’s debate. Remember, from the mouth of babes.
4. CNN used only 11 questions from female questioners, but 28 questions from male questioners. OK, I don’t know the relative breakdown in the pool of 3,000 questions. But the disparity in questions between male and females was very noticeable to me.
5. Having follow up with 2 of the questioners live in the audience only wasted time. This really didn’t work. Anderson Cooper asked, “Did they answer your question?” One of the guys basically said he couldn’t hear the answer because someone next to him was making noise. The other guy used his follow up to say that he wanted to have the question asked of Hillary Clinton.
6. CNN chose some pretty gimmicky questions for laughs and even wasted more time showing questions not used for more laughs. CNN wasted precious time on videos shown to generate laughs–a snowman asking a question, a guy singing and asking for a pardon on his parking ticket, two country guys asking if the talk about Al Gore running for president hurt their feelings, the last question asking each candidate to say something good and bad about the person to the left. There probably were more, but you get the picture.
7. The 30-second campaign videos were nice, but took time away from the debate. I liked the campaign videos, but just have people go to YouTube to watch them. CNN shouldn’t take away precious time from the debate.
Prime Minister John Howard’s video is here.
News: Sen. Dodd is up this week for YouTube’s Spotlight. He takes a back-handed slap at Hillary Clinton for using her YouTube spotlight question to ask people to select her campaign song. (Turns out that video was the most watched video on YouTube of all the candidate videos. What does this say about democracy?) Dodd wants the media to focus on the real issues that people care about. Stop focusing on Paris Hilton, or John Edwards’ haircuts.
News: This is follow up to last week’s post on Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican candidate. This guy has the most subscribers on YouTube, more than doubling the closest competitor, Barack Obama. Based on my eyeballing the stats, I said last week I think Ron Paul gets the most views per video of any candidate, Democratic or Republican. Well, after doing a little math, my inital figures indicate that he’s killing the competition.
Ron Paul gets on average 71,000+ views per video. My guess was that Hillary Clinton was the closest competitor based on eyeballing the numbers. Hillary only gets, though, if my math is correct, 40,000+ views per video. Again, Ron Paul is nearly doubling the nearest competition. (I hope to double check all these numbers, so take them as preliminary.)
Analysis: The key point for Ron Paul was the debate on May 3rd, where he went toe-to-toe with Rudy Giuliani and many people think only Paul was left standing. As this excellent chart shows, Paul’s subscribers on YouTube skyrocketed after the debate. Of course, the number of views for Paul probably include some people who just want to learn more about him, since he is not nationally known. Candidates like Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama already have the name recognition.
[Disclaimer: This is in no way an endorsement of any kind.]
Summary: Here are the videos for YouTube’s Spotlight on the presidential candidates. Each candidate asks a question to the YouTube community; the community responds; and the candidate can offer a reply. These are typically some of the most viewed videos of the candidates, but the number of views still seems a bit low. Hillary Clinton had the most views for her gimmicky video asking people to choose her campaign song. Everyone else asked a serious question. Go figure. When the campaign really gets going, YouTube should start throwing videos from the candidates on the front page, to draw greater attention to them. I’m sure some YouTubers don’t even know they exist.
June 13, 2007: Sen. Barack Obama video (542,962 views).
May 8, 2007: Rep. Duncan Hunter video (294,199 views).
News: OK, so you might tell that I’ve been studying the political side of YouTube much more. YouTube has this cool feature called “Spotlight” in which one of the presidential candidates gets to ask the YouTube community a question and hear the responses. Well, today, Tom Tancredo (whom I must admit I’m not familiar with) decided to use his one question to ask a question specifically to fellow Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Analysis: Romney should answer the question.
News: The UK based Economist magazine has an article today about the increasing power of YouTube on the presidential election. Here’s one passage:
“Campaigns are also more interesting these days. The droning, top-down television ads touting a candidate’s virtues and his rival’s vices are now supplemented by far more creative message-making….This year Mr Obama seems to have more internet buzz, for example claiming more (possibly, these things are hard to compare) “friends” on MySpace than does Mrs Clinton. But MySpace friends do not equal votes. Young users of new technology are not as important as the dedicated and capable “ground troops” in a campaign. The latter come from unions, religious groups and other traditionally organised blocks. Once again, Mr Dean’s story is illustrative—thousands of his enthusiastic workers descended upon Iowa for that state’s early Democratic caucus. But this much-touted “perfect storm” of volunteers, mostly non-Iowan, failed him. Name recognition, money and old-fashioned organisation are virtues that no amount of net savvy can replace. Mr Dean finished a distant third in Iowa, and never recovered.”
Analysis: Ron Paul probably deserved some mention, particularly because he seems to fit the prototype that the Economist continually referred to — the Internet popular candidate who may have a hard time translating that into votes. If Ron Paul is the No.1 most viewed candidate on YouTube (here), then how can you write a story on YouTube’s role on the presidential election without even mentioning the guy?
Video of the week: Who is Ron Paul, and why is he the most viewed presidential candidate on YouTube?June 22, 2007
Rep. Ron Paul from Texas is a libertarian and a Republican presidential candidate. He voted against the authorization for the Iraq war. Surprisingly, Ron Paul appears to be the most viewed candidate on YouTube, with his videos often generating several hundred thousand views.
I haven’t done the math, but, after a quick eyeballing of stats, I think Ron Paul’s average viewership per video makes him the No.1 Most Viewed candidate. Better than Rudy Giuliani, better than John McCain, better than Hillary Clinton, better than Barack Obama, better than John Edwards. (Sure, it’s possible a handful of people could inflate the number of views on YouTube, but I have no reason to believe that’s what’s happening here. He has the most subscribers, 17,564.)
OK, popular videos on the Internet don’t necessarily mean votes (think of Ned Lamont or Snakes on a Plane), but if this guy had the political machinery and money behind him, who knows what kind of noise he would make on the Republican side. Ron Paul got a lot of national attention after he went toe-to-toe with Rudy Giuliani, who took umbrage at Paul’s suggestion that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East had played a part in making the terrorists hate America before 9/11. Giuliani characterized Paul’s comment as saying that American policy invited the terrorist attack on 9/11. Paul did not back down to Giuliani’s interruption, though, and reiterated his point about interventionist foreign policy abroad creating blowback against America. After the debate, Paul even gave Giuliani a reading assignment to read the 9/11 Commission Report, Blowback, Imperial Hubris, and other foreign policy books. The exchange is on the video above.
[Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of any kind.]