Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chris Christie -- the "Justin Bieber of Political Media"

Chris Christie, the Republican Governor from New Jersey, has amassed a significant following on YouTube, regularly posting compelling (and often testy / controversial) videos. While not the only politician to embrace YouTube as a platform to engage citizens, Christie is one of the most adept at regularly posting entertaining content that showcases his direct approach. His YouTube popularity has been noticed by mainstream media outlets, with an article in the New York Times today (read here) and a piece in Slate a few weeks back (here).

To check out Christie's YouTube channel visit here and see below for a recent video from a town hall in Clifton, NJ.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Visualizing Changes in the Balance of the Two Party Vote

As a big fan of cartograms I find the video below fascinating. This video uses isarithmic mapping to showcase the shift in the two-party vote in the US over the past 90 years. When the historical red-blue political balance is shown visually I'm reminded that despite how deeply entrenched our current political state feels the winds of political favor do shift quickly and dramatically.

How do you think this map will look 30 years from now?

For more information on the math behind the mapping visit here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"That's on tape! That's on tape!": Capturing Police Brutality in Miami

This Halloween partiers in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami were subject to something more alarming than the standard fare of ghosts and goblins.

Caught on tape below, policemen went "above and beyond" their duties by roughing up some of the holiday revelers. With a crowd of costume-sporting Floridians watching (and hollering), police officers seemed to cross the line between keeping order and abusing their power as they dragged people from the crowd and forcefully arrested them.

What makes this occurrence particularly interesting is that one of the witnesses recorded the entire incident on their camera phone, brazenly shouting "That's on tape! That's on tape" throughout the arrests. This amateur footage is reminiscent of the shocking clip of Oakland resident Oscar Grant being shot by BART police.

When politicians and pundits speak of increased government transparency it often comes across as a top-down initiative -- the legislators will open their doors and show the inner workings of their political operations and budgeting. At the end of the day though, there is no greater way to force government transparency than empowering citizens with video cameras to capture and broadcast the injustices of the day.

Reports from CBS 4 and the Miami New Times state that this video was shared amongst various government department and an internal investigation into the offending police officer is underway.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

[WATCH] 14 year old student stands up for gay rights and teacher at school board meeting

Graham Taylor, a fourteen year old in Michigan is making waves online after standing up at a local school board meeting and advocating on behalf of teacher Jay McDowell who was suspended for ejecting students from his class who made racist and anti-gay remarks. Watch the impassioned speech for McDowell's reinstatement here:

This is the latest in a slew of other enormously popular videos that advocate against bullying and prejudice against gays. Other viral hits in this vein include the enormously successful It Gets Better Project and this video from Joel Burns, a Fort Worth City Councilman.

In the video above, Taylor speaks of the "silent holocaust" occurring in America, citing that millions of gay teens have taken their lives as a result of bullying. Judging by the groundswell of support for these videos, and the fact that others are creating their own videos to speak out, it looks like many teens are now using YouTube to end the silence.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ugandan President throws down mad beats in recent political ad

In February of 2011, Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan President, will be up for re-election - and his campaign strategy includes dropping some hip hop knowledge on the Ugandan citizenry. Recently, Museveni release a video for a rap song called, "You Want Another Rap?". The video has received close to 50,000 views on YouTube (additionally, the song is apparently a staple in Ugandan clubs):

The video and song was created after Museveni recited lines to an African folks song at a rally - reminiscent of "Yes We Can," another viral hit that was derived from a political speech. The song also includes lines of Runyankore, an African tribal language.

And public YouTube Insight data shows that Museveni is targeting his constituents well on YouTube. The video has received most penetration in Uganda and surrounding nations. And he is also reaching his goal of relating to a younger audience - the video is most popular with males ages 25 - 44.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The 2010 election on YouTube: By the numbers

In these 2010 midterm elections, campaigns, voters, and interest groups have continued to innovate new ways to share their political opinions on YouTube. Because YouTube is a platform where anyone can post and share videos globally, you’ve made this platform the vanguard of the political media discussion. Some of these efforts to influence the political dialog on YouTube were more successful than others. Today, we’re sharing who emerged on top of the YouTube elections heap - and we’re going strictly by the numbers.

The top 10 most-viewed videos, sourced from all videos categorized as “News & Politics" on YouTube, are a mixed bag of official campaign videos, user-generated content and videos from interest groups:

1. Congressman Assaults Student on Sidewalk
2. We Are Better than That

3. America Rising - An Open Letter to Democrat Politicians
4. President Obama, No One is Laughing in Arizona
5. Language
6. Brewer to Obama: Warning Signs are not Enough

7. Those Voices Don’t Speak for the Rest of Us
8. FCINO: Fiscal Conservative in Name Only
9. Governor Christie Responds to Teacher During Town Hall
10. Arizona Sing-A-Long: Read Immigration Law!

Interestingly, every video in the top ten comes from the Republicans, which is quite a departure from 2008. In addition, immigration was an extremely hot topic on YouTube this year - three out of ten of the most-viewed videos are about the Arizona immigration law (2 came from AZ Governor Jan Brewer).

Now, let’s take a look specifically at the 450 candidates for public office who registered for official Politician channels on YouTube this fall. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 most-viewed Politician channels on YouTube in the last month:

  1. Christine O’Donnell 
  2. Jerry Brown 
  3. Rob Steele 
  4. Linda McMahon 
  5. Jack Conway 
  6. Marco Rubio 
  7. Carly Fiorina 
  8. Joe Sestak 
  9. Chris Coons 
  10. Dino Rossi

Leading the pack is Christine O’Donnell whose “I’m You” video inspired hundreds of thousands of views... and quite a few parodies. Here's the original:

YouTube Insight allows us to see where the view counts were coming for any individual video. For example, parodies of O’Donnell’s “I’m You” video (like the Gregory Brothers’ “Songify This," above) received millions more views than O’Donnell’s original campaign video nationally, but Insight shows us that O’Donnell still received more views in the state of Delaware than any parody video.

Similarly, the memorable “Why” video from the #5 politician on the list, Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway, shows that he too, did an effective job of targeting the voters in his state - even though the video went viral nationally.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more YouTube and Google video and trends data, during our special Election Night coverage with CBS News.