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Daily Digest: A Kinder, Gentler YouTube

BY Joshua Levy | Tuesday, February 26 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • In a nostalgic tour de 'Tube, YouTube news and politics editor Steve Grove — the man behind YouChoose and other political initiatives from YouTube — rounds up the Democratic candidates’ use of online video over the past year. For those of us that have been following this closely (remember YouTube Spotlight?) the video is a pleasant trip down memory lane. Grove recalls Bill Richardson’s job interview, John Edwards and Hair, Chris Dodd’s white hare, and more. It was a kinder, gentler time. Next up: the Republicans. (Hat tip, Mike at Future Majority)

  • Data miner Matthew Hurst produced a cool head-to-head chart showing the ratio of blog mentions of Barack Obama compared to those of Hillary Clinton, with Obama’s share of mentions trending upwards since December 27. Hurst also links to a similar chart from fellow miner Glenn Fannick, which shows Obama moving ahead in mentions in the mainstream media since Super Tuesday. These charts show similar data to our own Technorati charts, though the ratio aspect is a neat twist.

  • Last week we mentioned RSS feedfather David Winer’s idea that we make .mp3’s of press conference calls with the campaigns be made public, possibly as podcasts. The Politico’s Ben Smith writes that the Clinton campaign has started putting its calls online, linking to a recent one. Smith supports the idea, though he says “the main risk, I think, is to us in the press, whose occasionally dumb questions will now be public record.”

  • Blue Majority’s poll asking members if they should endorse a Democratic candidate has closed, but due to opposition to the idea — more than one-third of the 20,000 votes (which were cast on OpenLeft, DailyKos, and Swing State Project) were against it — last night OpenLeft’s Chris Bowers announced that they’re holding off on an endorsement. Bowers, who thought the endorsement idea would pass, writes, "Ain’t democracy and dialogue great?"

  • techPresident contributor Patrick Ruffini has a brilliant post tolling the bell for campaigns that continue to ignore bottom-up, grassroots action (read: the GOP and Clinton). After detailing the ways in which the 2008 GOP field attempted to mimic Bush's organization, he discovers "a coherent narrative about how turning away from a grassroots, authentic, new media-ish campaign turned out to be fatal or nearly fatal for each of these campaigns." Ouch. Required reading.

  • The folks at liberal blog Firedoglake were so incensed by a so-called “hit piece” on Obama by AP writer Nedra Pickler that they’ve organized a push-back against what they’re calling a “right wing smear” (from that conservative bastion, the Associated Press…). They’ve constructed a web form you can use to send a letter to the editors of local and national papers. It’s pretty user-friendly, and similar to petitions from MoveOn.org and others — you don’t have to actually write the letter, but you can if you want — and it’s been organized fairly quickly.

  • Trying to peer into Hillary Clinton’s mind as she weighed her attacks on Barack Obama, online jokers 23/6 constructed a flowchart that illustrates her possible decision-making calculus. In their fantasy scenario, all roads lead to… Obama’s good looks! Even she can’t withstand them!

The Candidates on the Web

  • Here’s something from John McCain. The new site FriendFeed, which was started by the creators of Gmail and just left a private beta phase today, lets users aggregate all of their postings from around the web on one site (there’s more to it than that). Either John McCain’s campaign or a supporter has set up an account on the site, and while so far their page only highlights his videos on YouTube, it could be a good place to collect everything else his campaign puts out — Twitter posts, Flickr pics, blog posts, etc. That is, if they put that stuff out there. (Barack Obama also has a page on the site.)

In Case You Missed It…

Ralph Nader is running for president, again. But Micah Sifry thinks he has a problem: he doesn’t understand the web as well as the web understands him. Message to Ralph: It’s not the 1970s any more. It’s not even the 1990s any more. Micah also unearths a YouTube video that shows exactly what Nader thinks of the web.

Media coverage of 2008 presidential campaigning on the Web has been dominated by talk of social networking, blogs, viral video, and other tough-to-track social media phenomena. However, writes Kate Kaye, the fact is many of the campaigns have used a far more measurable online campaign method: paid display advertising.

It’s a no go, for Larry Lessig, writes Nancy Scola. Despite the cutting-edge online enthusiasm around his possible candidacy for Congress, Lessig opted out of the race for the most old-school of reasons: he decided that there was just no way he could win the thing in the time allotted.