Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CitizenNews Report of the Day

Shawn -- a globetrotter dedicated to reducing global poverty and posting reports of his work to his YouTube channel, the Uncultured Project -- heard about a new water purifier system in Kenya that leverages nanotechnology to purify water from even the dirtiest sources. He decided to test it out himself...on water that had been contaminated by fecal matter, no less.

Watch his video to see how things turned out...

YouTube Users Respond to Crisis in the DR Congo

Since August of this year, the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen 250,000 Congolese citizens forced to flee their homes. As the death toll and refugee counts increase, people on the frontline of efforts to help are utilizing YouTube to speak out against the violence.

Nonprofit organizations are using the site to raise awareness about the conflict and to raise funds that are desperately needed to provide food, medicine and sanitation for the refugees. UNICEF uses video to explore a day on the ground at one of the refugee camps in DR Congo, while Doctors Without Borders depicts the struggles of the displaced through a powerful slideshow. And if you'd like to contribute more than just your viewership, the Disasters Emergency Committee recently posted an appeal on behalf of the UK's 13 leading charities for YouTube users to donate funds:

Individual YouTube users have also been raising their voices to demand that more be done to end the fighting. This UK citizen asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown why he recently spent more time talking about British celebrities than the dire situation in DR Congo.

You can join this important conversation -- if you have thoughts about the humanitarian crisis, please add them in the comments or detail them in a video.

Monday, November 24, 2008

CitizenNews Report of the Day

A journalist captured footage of a dozen Greenpeace activists being bullied and attacked while protesting at a coal mine in Western Poland.

The 2008 Election on YouTube: A mash-up

We premiered this mash-up at YouTube LIVE! on Saturday night in San Francisco - it chronicles the 2008 Election as it unfolded on YouTube. James Kotecki, aka Emergency Cheese, was kind enough to come to San Francisco and introduce the piece for us.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

President-elect Obama announces stimulus planning on YouTube; now using captions to reach global audience

This week's video address from the President-elect announced an economic stimulus plan he plans to set in motion soon after inauguration. After a brutal week on Wall Street, Obama is taking action to boost consumer confidence before he even takes office; he claims the plain will bring 2.5 million jobs.

The Obama team is now using YouTube's caption functionality, so that people around the world can translate his weekly address into their language. The captions also allow seniors or those with weak eyesite to read clearly what the President-elect is saying in his videos.

Friday, November 21, 2008

CitizenNews Report: Gay Marriage in Nepal

A Nepalese blogger from Instablogs, a global network of citizen journalists, reports the Nepali Supreme Court has upheld the right to gay marriage. They point out that "gays from South Asia once used to seek asylum in the United States," but that given the recent passing of Prop 8, banning gay marriage in California, "Californians may now be heading to Nepal to get married in the shadow of the Himalayas."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CitizenNews Report of the Day

Purple States, a news organization that helps elevate high-quality citizen reporting and user-generated news content, has launched a new series called 50 bloggers, 50 states, and 50 days. Every day, they post a new video from a blogger talking about how the financial crisis has affected him or her and the local economy in that state.

Check out Marcio DaSilva, an immigrant from Brazil, video blogging about tough economic times in Georgia:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

President-Elect Obama and Rep. Ed Markey Discuss Climate Change on YouTube

The Presidential Transition Team is ramping up their YouTube presence on their YouTube channel, Changedotgov. Yesterday, President-Elect Obama delivered an unexpected speech via video to the bi-partisan Governors Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles, outlining his stance on the need for aggressive climate change and international cooperation in fighting global warming.

Representative Ed Markey, who chairs the US House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, posted a video of himself watching the video on YouTube and offering his response.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SF Mayor takes unique approach to a "talking head" video

Just came across this from SF Mayor Gavin Newsom's channel. Whatever your view point on Proposition 8 in California, it's worth taking a look at this piece - it's very well done. By filming him as he prepares for and delivers a TV interview on the topic, the Mayor's video team makes Newsom seem more human, more personally affected by the issue. The style also does a good job of casting him as a fighter for this cause, someone who is out in front of the media campaigning on the issue. Worth a look.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect, on YouTube

Let the "YouTube Presidency" begin:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Coming up: Pres-Elect Obama does fireside chats on video

We learned today from Pres-elect Obama's transition team that he'll be taping his first-ever weekly radio address and posting it to YouTube tomorrow morning. The Washington Post's Jose Antonio Vargas reports that the weekly Democratic radio address will be taped in Chicago today and uploaded to Obama's ChangeDotGov YouTube channel. This squares with what then-Senator Obama told us back in November of 2007 during a YouTube interview - he plans to do weekly fireside chats on video as president. Already Changedotgov is ramping up it's video content, posting its first transition 'update' direct-to-the-Tube from Valerie Jarrett, transition team co-chair. Read more in Vargas' column.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Digg Dialogue with Al Gore

Current.com and Digg let you ask the questions in this three-part interview with former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The State Department keeps up its saavy on YouTube

We reported awhile back that the U.S. State Department launched a contest on YouTube, asking citizens around the world to submit videos answering the question, "What is Democracy?" This came from the office of public diplomacy, who realize all too well the power that the Internet can have to shape global perceptions of the United States.

Now, State's public affairs team is engaging citizens here at home directly through a series of "Briefing 2.0" sessions. Citizens across the country can submit questions for Sean McCormick, the State Department's spokesman, and he'll answer them in bi-weekly press conferences. Already one session into the project, McCormick seems to be enjoying the chance to engage with citizens directly.

The next session is on November 20th, and you can submit your questions as a reply video to the video below. We suggest the State Department bring more focus to these briefings by centering them on particular topics, a suggestion they've said they'll consider. As the Obama Administration brings new minds to the State Department next year, this idea will be a good one to keep.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Will.i.am: "It's a New Day"

Creating the most-viewed clip of the 2008 election wasn't enough for Will.i.am - he just came out with his first video since the election, "It's a new day". Check it out:

Citizentube Friday Five

A historic election, a historic outcome. Here’s this week’s Friday Five.

President-Elect Barack Obama in Chicago (barackobamadotcom)

Senator Barack Obama’s speech after becoming the next President-Elect.

Senator John McCain Election Night Speech (Full Video) (CSPAN)

Senator John McCain concedes defeat in the 2008 Presidential race.

Obama Win Causes Obsessed Backers To See How Empty Lives Are (TheOnion)

Now that the presidential race is over, what will Obama supporters do?

Obama Fever in Africa (Africanews)

Africans all over the continent react to Obama’s victory.

President-Elect Barack Obama Victory Speech (gettyimages)

Photo essay of President-Elect Obama’s victory speech.

Your Election, Documented on YouTube

To mark Tuesday's historic presidential election, thousands of Americans documented their voting experience on camera and shared it with the world on YouTube. We launched the Video Your Vote program in partnership with PBS to encourage and collect these videos in one place and provide a unique perspective on democracy-in-action.

From enthusiastic first-time voters to African-Americans celebrating the opportunity to cast a ballot for Barack Obama, many Americans brought their video cameras to the polls simply to chronicle their excitement and produce a record to share with their grandchildren. Others focused on election protection, documenting long lines in inclement weather, broken voting machines, and instances of voter intimidation.

In addition:

  • Parents brought their children to vote, and volunteers shuttled the elderly to their polling places.

  • Eager young voters rose before the sun to get in line, and brand new citizens exercised their right to vote as Americans for the first time.

  • Some voted happily in the privacy of their own homes, while others drove to the nearest McDonalds to fill out a ballot while picking up a happy meal.

And when the votes were counted, people from around the world shared their reactions to the election of Barack Obama as our next President.

Over 2,000 videos (and counting) have poured into the Video Your Vote YouTube channel thus far, and each one is being plotted onto a Google Map, weaving a rich tapestry of voter video diaries. Search for a specific location to see videos uploaded near your home.

For more, check out the Video Your Vote channel.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Videos from polling places pouring on to YouTube

Videos are pouring into our Video Your Vote channel at a rate of around 100 per hour today. Our map almost has 1,000 videos, several of them documenting polling place problems and many more giving perspectives of first-time or excited voters casting their ballots in this historic election.

Check out the map, and then follow these playlists for the best videos in each category.

Voter Intimidation:

Long Lines at the polling place:

Moving Voting Stories:

Election Day on YouTube - What to Look for

[cross-posted from the YouTube blog]

After thousands of campaign stops, tens of thousands of speeches, and billions of videos viewed on YouTube, the 2008 Election is finally here. What began almost two years ago -- when seven of the 16 primary presidential candidates announced their campaigns on our You Choose '08 platform -- is finally coming to a close as Americans turn out to vote for who should lead the country these next four years.

The influence you've had on this political season has been well noted in this blog and by most every major media outlet in the world. Your use of video to document and describe this Election on your own terms has created a new, more democratic political ecosystem and has caused many to call this the "YouTube Election." But while the profound increase in online activity has reshaped our national dialogue in so many new ways, today is where we see just how much it matters: the ultimate political action isn't to upload a video to YouTube or to watch "Yes We Can" or "We Need McCain" one more time; it's to vote.

Today we're featuring all political videos on the homepage of YouTube; check them out and get a flavor for what's coming in on Election Day. We're also plotting videos of your polling place experiences on a special Google Maps mash-up on our Video Your Vote channel with PBS. So bring your video camera with you to your polling place to document your experience; then submit your videos to the Video Your Vote channel and keep an eye on PBS's Election coverage -- they'll broadcast the best ones on TV.

Monday, November 3, 2008

You Choose '08: Monday Hotlist

One. Day. Left. Here's this week's Monday Hotlist.

"We Have a Lot of Work to Do" (barackobamadotcom)

Obama and Wright: He Never Complained Once (NRTPac)

Daft The Vote (Election08)

Voting Might Be Helpful! (JeremyKonner)

WV Vote Flipping Caught on Tape (videothevote)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Just how do those "viral videos" go viral?

Most people who've been paying even passing attention to the 2008 Election understand that online video has changed the way campaigns, the media, and voters communicate and learn about politics. Most people can point to a few of their favorite "viral videos" (to use a worn-out term) that have propped up or pushed down a particular candidate over the past two years. But how much do we really know about what causes a video to rise to the top and gain national attention?

The first answer is always content. Compelling content rises to the top, pure and simple. Just because the media ecosystem is more democratic than ever before doesn't mean that good content doesn't still matter - it does. Look at any of the flagship YouTube videos of this election - Yes We Can, HuckChuckFacts, We Need McCain, Obama's speech on race, Vote Different, Rev. Wright, etc. - and each video is compelling in for it's own reason.

But how does a compelling video spread? There's some interesting research being done in this area, and one of the more compelling tools we've come across is over at a new site called Shifting the Debate. The site, created by some smart developers in New York, tracks the link-outs of YouTube videos in the blogosphere. Using a unique and intuitive scatter plot graph that delineates between conservative and liberal blogs, the site tracks YouTube views over time based on linkages from blogs (not unlike the basic "Pagerank" system by which Google's founders started their little search engine project 10 years ago).

Head over to the site and take a look - and then compare the results with the "most viewed" pages in our News and Politics section on YouTube. Shifting the Debate shows how many blogs are linking to the days top videos. And you can see just how hard each party's bloggers work to promote videos that favor their candidate in their networks. Of course, we're not talking about a simple cause-effect relationship here - a video rising in "most viewed" on YouTube puts it on the radar of bloggers, who then link out to it, building that buzz in a positive feedback system that pushes the most compelling content up to the top. The tool at Shifting the Debate also lets you filter by time, so you can check the longevity of videos in the blogosphere.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Follow Voting Problems on New YouTube Map

With Election Day upon us and early voting in full force, we've been getting a huge stream of content submitted from polls across the country on our Video Your Vote channel. Some voters are documenting long lines at the polling place, others are documenting instances of voter intimidation, and others are just plain excited to be voting.

Make sure to keep checking back on the map for the videos as they pour in; you can filter them out by six different categories on the page. If you'd like to embed the map on your site, here it is:

So keep an eye on the election on the Video Your Vote channel, and don't forget to Video Your Vote.