You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

The World's Greatest YouTubing Body

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, April 25 2011

Think a contentious episode of Bloggingheads meets the United States Senate. National Journal's Dan Friedman reports:

Congressional offices are working with YouTube on an unusual new initiative that may mark a new step in lawmakers’ incremental embrace of social media.

The video-sharing website, a Google subsidiary since 2006, is working on an effort that, while not final, would involve the following, according to aides helping set it up:  Two lawmakers with contrasting policy views would outline them in separate online videos, presumably a Democrat and a Republican. Viewers would then vote on which they support. The parties of the online speakers would not be immediately identified to viewers, who probably won't know the party of many members of Congress. That twist is intended to overcome political bias and allow the viewers to focus on the policy questions.

The Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee is reportedly working on the project with the YouTube team.

It remains to be seen whether there's actually an audience for policy debate videos that excludes those people who would know whether United States senators are Republicans or Democrats or Independents just by seeing 'em. And the Internet hasn't proven itself amenable to these sort of transpartisan experiments. (Insert HotSoup joke here.) But who knows. If you could actually get members of Congress to participate, in speak in recognizably human ways, it might be fun to watch. They're aiming to launch May 2nd.