Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post writes about the impact of sites like YouTube on the political scene.
While bloggers played a role in the last presidential election, most advertising and message delivery still comes from campaigns, political parties and interest groups with enough money to bankroll a television blitz. But the YouTube revolution -- which includes dozens of sites such as Google Video, Revver.com and Metacafe.com -- could turn that on its head.
If any teenager can put up a video for or against a candidate, and persuade other people to watch that video, the center of gravity could shift to masses of people with camcorders and passable computer skills. And if people increasingly distrust the mainstream media, they might be more receptive to messages created by ordinary folks.
"YouTube is a campaign game-changer, shifting the dynamics of how to reach voters and build intimate relationships," says Julie Supan, senior marketing director for the small, California-based firm, which by one measure now runs the 39th most popular Web site. "YouTube levels the playing field, allowing well-backed and less-known candidates to reach the same audience and share the same stage."
Beyond blogging, video from anyone and anywhere phenomenon is extending to all corners of society and commerce. If you have a product or service some users don't like, or head butt someone in a World Cup match, expect to see powerful, visual clips, parodies and slams, some bordering on slander, that hugely amplify the positives or negatives, depending on the take, and spread like wildfire across the Net. Brand and reputation are going to be much harder to protect, which means engaging and being proactive, joining the conversation as well as listening, as opposed to trying to control the message as the way to proceed....