Yesterday, President Obama had his first exclusive interview after his State of the Union speech with you, the YouTube community. The President engaged in a direct conversation about a broad range of issues, from generating jobs to opening up the health care process to investments in nuclear energy.
The best part of the process was that it was driven by you. Five days ago, as the President began his State of the Union address, we opened up our Moderator platform on CitizenTube, and over 55,000 of you submitted and voted on both video and text questions. Some of them were hard-hitting, others were emotional, and some were even funny.
You can watch the full interview now:
Only able to ask less than 0.2% of the 11,696 questions submitted, it was hard to choose the final handful. Here's how the selection process worked: we tried to cover a range of issues, minimize duplicate questions, and include both video and text submissions. First, we looked at which topics had the highest participation -- like jobs, foreign policy, health care and government reform -- to determine how many questions to ask in each category. We then took the top 5% of video and text questions and picked questions that reflected what you cared about. None of them were chosen by the White House or seen by the President before the interview.
In some cases, we combined questions, grouping similar ones from different categories like health care and government reform:
"Why are the health care meetings, procedures, etc not on CSPAN as promised?" - Mr. Anderson, TexasSometimes the top overall question in the category was a video question:
"How do you expect the people of this country to trust you when you have repeatedly broken promises that were made on the campaign trail. Most recently, the promise to have a transparent healthcare debate..." - Warren Hunter, Brooklyn
To try to get as many question in as possible, we had a section called "Good idea/Bad idea" in which we tried to solicit short responses from the President on ideas you sent in that might not be presented to him in traditional interviews. And in all cases, we tried to select the top questions that would solicit conversation, lead to substantive answers, and hadn't been asked in previous programs we've had with the President.
We had many more questions on hand than we had time to deliver, so we're pleased that the White House has agreed to respond to more of the top-voted questions in their blog soon, at whitehouse.gov.
We hope this interview brings us one step closer to creating better access to your government through YouTube -- and we'd love to hear your feedback and any other ideas you have on YouTube's political programming.