YouTube didn't even become public until May 2005. It didn't officially launch until six months later. I am not saying that YouTube is a real source of political change, but it is hard to ignore its impact on the distribution of ideas.
Most of it is fluff and ignorable. But the fact video editing is now simple and easy and cheap, and the fact that you can now deliver it to the world almost instantly, has changed things.
The amount of attention being given to the pro-Obama/anti-Clinton Apple "1984" ad mashup is pointing towards something.
This was posted two weeks ago. There are numerous video responses to it. It is being covered by much of the mainstream press. Obama's people have even made a statement about it.
This "ad" isn't by any official campaign. Who really knows who is responsible. If can be made for practically nothing. And these "ads" can say anything they want. As the campaign moves forward we will be awash in these things... and many will get very ugly. Sure, a lot will be creative and witty and even intelligent. But we are going to get a lot of what we once referred to as "attack ads"... except that there will be no limit on what will be said in them.
And many will be ignored. But certain once will be mentioned in the press. Some will be mentioned because they are just good. Others because they are extreme. Blogs will cover them and then the media will cover the fact that blogs are covering them. People will see them and talk about them and campaigns will have to think about whether or not to give a response.
Sure, in 2004, the Internet was around. Sure, there were bloggers who could say whatever they wanted. But, let's be honest. People, in general, don't like reading all that much. But they like videos. We complain and complain about how television has changed how national campaigns are run. About how tv plays too big a roll. How campaigns are now geared towards sound bites and images.
Well, this time around that may, in some part, be taken out of the campaigns hands. For better or worse, it is going to be in the hands of the people.
(Small note: blogger.com's spellchecker doesn't know "bloggers.")
Russia's The Dead Hand
7 years ago