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Hopeful The Change Will Be Revolutionary, But Obama May Blow It Yet

Scott Bannon Posted by Scott Bannon

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Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect

Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect

I spent most of the weekend avoiding work and my computer, so this posting is a little behind the 8-ball–but I just watched President-Elect Obama’s Weekly Address on YouTube and was immediately struck by how the tactic of using this new medium for “connecting” with us common folks seemingly fails.

I was so hopeful that the idea of a change in how government operates, and how politics “gets done” would be revolutionary. The use of YouTube and other online Social Networking venues seemed a perfect way to not only provide transparency in government, but also to promote prolonged and active participation in government among we the people.

Unfortunately, Obama and/or his “people” seem to be at risk of missing the boat based on what I’ve just seen at YouTube.

The whole point to social media is to engage and spawn participation in the conversation. It’s this two-way web (I’ve heard Social Media consultant, Chris Brogan call it that) that makes it successful and attractive to users. It begins with the broadcaster–a news outlet, blogger, retailer, marketer… or politician–realizing that they can’t control the message in the conversation. That’s old media broadcasting, where radio and television excelled, but online the message has to be open to discussion and debate in order to be of benefit and lasting interest.

Yet, the first thing I noticed when I went to the YouTube page with Obama’s address was this: “Adding comments has been disabled for this video.”

Adding comments has been disabled for this video

Are you kidding me? If you’re not going to engage and embrace participation and discussion don’t waste the bandwidth or my time. Just broadcast over AM radio where you can control the message without offending anyone and I can ignore your message “push” in peace.

Don't push your message on me!

Don’t push your message on me!

But, if you’re going to use social and community mediums online, then use them as they’re intended and allow us common folk to comment on–and discuss–the message freely.

Old style media (television, print and radio): You push your message out to the public in a manner to try to control and manipulate the perception.

Social media: You share your message and get instant feedback on how it’s freely perceived by following the discussion it sparks without any controlled manipulations.

Let’s talk about the future together...

Let’s talk about the future together...

Sure, there’ll be idiots who make wacky comments and claims, and I’m sure that’s not desired at all, but those of us who frequent online communities understand and expect these and have learned it’s the trade-off for open and free discussion which we’re willing to make; so we’ve learned to not allow the idiots to guide or discourage our participations.

If Obama is really about changing the way politics is done, then he first must relinquish control of the message and open it up for conversation. Let people openly and freely discuss the weekly addresses and use those discussions for his (and our) benefit going forward.

Who knows, maybe some of us common folk will even have a good idea to bring to the discussion now and then… wouldn’t that be nice?

Several images used from stock.xchng

Technorati Tags: Obama, social media, youtube

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