Looks like President-elect Barack Obama isn’t the only politician to see the value of communicating through popular video site YouTube. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom created a YouTube channel to deliver this year’s State of the City address — all 7.5 hours of it.
We’ve been fans of Obama’s YouTube addresses, because they make it much easier to see and hear the president-elect’s words. The first address has been viewed nearly 1 million times, and according to my highly scientific measurement of “what my friends talk about at parties,” these videos are starting to enter the general cultural conversation. That’s no mean feat — how many weekly presidential addresses (which are traditionally broadcast over the radio) did you listen to before this?
Not that Obama is the first politician on YouTube. In fact, Newsom actually modeled his channel on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Regardless, more and more elected officials are jumping on this bandwagon.
Newsom is approaching these videos a bit differently than Obama. The most notable difference is the aforementioned 7.5 hour length, spread out over several videos, each about 45 minutes in length. Apparently, Newsom took advantage of the freedom provided by YouTube to go on and on in much more depth.
On the one hand, it’s cool to see Newsom deliver a speech that could never have been broadcast on traditional television — except maybe on CSPAN? — and with more interactivity in the presentation. Instead of tuning in and out, you can just choose the video that you’re interested in. On the other hand, 45 minutes per topic is nuts. Will anyone other than the hardcore policy wonks sit through one YouTube video of that length, much less multiple videos?
New videos will be unveiled throughout the week; VentureBeat readers may want to tune in on Thursday, when the economic development segment gets posted. As a San Francisco resident, I’m pretty disappointed that housing isn’t one of the announced topics, but perhaps that will be part of the larger business discussion.