Multimedia offers several things that ordinary print doesn't: Driving home a point in person is one of them. Press releases, bulletins, direct mail often are ignored, so what to do? But video, multimedia, regular TV news also have their limits. In an era of 200 TV stations offering a variety of specialty channels where "news" is ignored, how to reach the masses and offer an ability to go when you please to view important information? The government in the U.K. has started to post on YouTube. HM Revenues and Customs have put Dave Hartnett, HMRC’s Permanent Secretary for Tax, straight onto video about the deadline for off shore tax havens.
The challenge for most ministries or departments is costs. Constantly sending out direct mail or advertising in newspapers or phone calls is becoming expensive. Putting out a video that anyone can download for free, view it on their own time is becoming an attractive option. The government can stipulate that public notice was given and published in a medium that anyone can retrieve and thus fair warning was established.
YouTube has been the source for political and official government messages with mixed results until the 2008 U.S. presidential election, where President Obama's campaign used it aggressively. There are more than 137,000 videos related to the President. He's not alone in the use of YouTube. Search results for Senator John McCain displays 179,000 videos, Former Gov. Sarah Palin 88,000, and former President Bush shows a whopping 388,000 different video clips! Many of these videos are responses or unusual commentaries on the individual and is clearly an effective medium to get one's message out. The regular evening news may find itself being replaced when it comes to political affairs. Whether you hear about it or not, the government is coming to collect.
Here's the HM Revenue & Customs video: