YouTube Presidential Dialogue, Sort Of


Sunlight’s Ellen Miller posted previously on President-Elect Barack Obama’s use of Internet video – or lack of imaginative use. Recently, Obama posted a video to YouTube (among other video sharing sites) addressing climate change and energy policy. This is what it looks like:

In response to Obama’s address, Rep. Ed Markey, the chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, posted his own video:

Now this isn’t the most thrilling discussion, although it may be the first time a lawmaker has responded to a President-Elect through a video sharing service. Instead it’s more of a laudatory salutation for joining those few politicians using Internet technologies. Despite the lack of substance in Rep. Markey’s video, the potential is evident for lawmakers who want to respond, or correspond, with a YouTube posting President.

A few things to note on President-Elect Obama’s videos: (1) Comments are disabled. I’m not the biggest fan of YouTube commenters, but if you are going to use the Internet the first order of business is to enable discussion. (2) Video responses are disabled. I can kind of understand disabling YouTube comments (really not a big fan of YouTube commenters), but not video responses. That is where I would imagine Rep. Markey’s video would go, and where any other lawmaker, Washington power player, or citizen could post their views in video format. That takes a bit more effort than posting a six-word comment and would provide for the two-way dialogue that the Internet enables.

I’m going to have to echo Ellen’s previous post, “I don’t see how one-way messages provide any more transparency for the work of the White House or government than the current old style radio addresses.”