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Fun With YouTube Insight: Who is Watching Obama?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 23 2009

YouTube's new decision to make usage metrics publicly available give us a whole new trove of information to mine about how various political actors and messages are doing. This information--who’s watching your videos, geographic distribution, traffic flows and total views, ratings by users--has always been available to video publishers through YouTube's Insight tool. Now, if publishers choose to make that info public, we can see it too. Some examples of what you can find out: President Obama's special video message to the Iranian people on the Nowruz holiday, which has more than 600K views, was "most popular" in Iran: His policy speech announcing a "new strategy" for Afghanistan and Pakistan was very popular in Pakistan...and in China. His Cairo speech to the Muslim world was highly popular not just in Egypt, but also several countries in Africa, especially Nigeria and Tanzania: It appears that the White House has not enabled viewing of demographic data about its YouTube videos, but over on Barack Obama's campaign YouTube channel, that data is available. So, you can learn that Obama's speech on race was most popular with both men and women between the ages of 45 and 54; while his appearance on "Ellen" where he shared his dance moves (his most popular video, with more than 7.7 million views) is not only most popular with those age groups, but also with girls ages 13 to 17!

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New Media Sites in Iran Blur Lines Between Citizen Journo, Professional Journo, & Activist

In 2010, Newsweek declared Iran the “birthplace of citizen journalism.” Iranian bloggers were hailed by Westerners as “brave” for their coverage of the aftermath of the disputed 2009 election. A 40-second video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during an anti-government protest won a prestigious George Polk Award, the first anonymously-produced work to be so honored. And then came the 2013 study “Whither Blogestan,” which sought to explain Iran's shrinking blogosphere. Of nearly 25,000 highly active and connected blogs in 2008 and 2009, only 20 percent were still online in September 2013.

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