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The shoot-and-upload booth at the convention

Latest update : 2008-08-28

In the latest twist in what has been dubbed 'the YouTube election', participants at the 2008 Democratic Convention can check into a special YouTube booth and have their video testimonies recorded and uploaded - instantly.

Diary from Denver - Read the FRANCE 24 team's collective blog


FRANCE 24 Observers plug into the buzz at the Democratic Convention – click here for more


At the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, participants at the 2008 Democratic convention are getting an all-new techie treat.


Convention-goers who feel the need to have a presence on YouTube, the mega video sharing Web site, can simply walk into the YouTube booth set up at the stadium, position themselves before a camera mounted on a tripod and deliver their discourse - typically on why they support Barack Obama.


The rest, it seems, is magic.


YouTube staffers at the booth record the video and then upload them onsite to YouTube’s dedicated channel site for the conventions.


The 2008 US presidential election has been called “the YouTube election” and the Obama campaign has been particularly adept at using voter-generated content to get out their message.


‘Politics has taken on a new life on the Internet’


At the YouTube booth located at the Pepsi Center, Steve Grove, YouTube’s news and politics director, maintained that his company has helped change the nature of political campaigns.


“Politics has taken a new life on the Internet because citizens are using platforms like YouTube to have their voices heard,” he told FRANCE 24’s James Andre. “They’re uploading videos on the campaign trail and holding politicians accountable for what they say.”


An example of the new YouTube accountability, according to some media experts, is the failed 2006 reelection bid of George Allen, the former Republican senator from Virginia. Allen was caught on tape during his campaign trail using a racial slur. Within days, the video clip “went viral,” precipitating, according to Grove, his subsequent failure in the polls.


That was two years ago. Today, the site’s political content includes YouTube’s Politicians Channel,  which offers all the official campaigns released in the 2008 presidential race. On YouChoose08, candidates across the US post video responses to voters’ questions on a host of issues.


Global spread and local reach


“We’ve got to the point where you can’t really be a politician if you don’t have your platform on YouTube,” said Grove. And the phenomenon, according to Grove, is not just American. “In the French elections,” he said, referring to the 2007 presidential runoff between candidates, Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal, “both candidates used YouTube very effectively. It’s happening all over the world.”


While the YouTube political experience is fast becoming a global phenomenon, for Brad Newton, a volunteer at the Democratic convention from the US Virgin Islands, the appeal is largely local.


Shortly after recording his testimony at the YouTube booth, Newton told FRANCE 24 he did it primarily for the folks back home. “I just opened a YouTube account for the Democrats back in the Virgin Islands,” he said. “Coming from such a small place, it gives us an opportunity to reach other Americans. But the reason why I opened a YouTube account is for friends and comrades back home so they can have an opportunity to see what’s going on here.”



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Date created : 2008-08-28