Why you shouldn’t talk down to “Political Thickos”…

Damien picks up an object lesson in why YouTube can be dangerous for political adverts… The audience has a right of reply! And it can be more popular than your original message!!!Speaking on Radio Four a couple of days ago, Professor Stephen Coleman had this taped (sound file):

This is what political parties do time and time again. They look at something that is exciting, cutting edge, potentially democratising, and they ask how can we do it in Twentieth century ways that are controlling, that are actually far worse than broadcast. This comment from Tony Blair that we are going to get around the media, this disruptive thing called journalism, which criticises and questions us, is nonsense. It is a part of democracy that these things have got to be challenged and held to account.

The people who go to YouTube are tremendously media savvy, because they make these things themselves. They are not like people who watch television, they know how its made, they know how its done and they know who it could be really funny. The really successful thing starring Tony Blair at the moment is his red nose day appearance, which could have, incidentally, been a disaster (the am I bovvered sketch with Catherine Tate], in which he obviously put some hard work into it and took a risk.

And it seems to me that this is the key four letter word that political parties have got to think about, RISK. How do you make sure you put yourself out there in ways that are accessible, attachable, remixable in the way that the digital ethos lends itself.

Oh yes, that Blair Red Nose Day video, if you haven’t already seen it:

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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