The Obama Administration has arguably become one of the most adept administrations in history at harnessing new media technologies to take its case directly to the American public.
How the White House takes advantage of new media can be seen in several White House videos posted on YouTube in the past week.
The first is a behind-the-scenes mini documentary of how President Obama’s staff helps the president prepare for his annual State of the Union speech, which he delivered last night.
While cynics may argue the White House video is a self-serving example of the president’s propaganda machinery, the video in fact provides an instructive look at how a modern president uses the media tools at his disposal to amplify his agenda and his message to the American public.
Like him or hate him, the video reflects a savvy sense for how President Obama and his team grasp the power and potential social media platforms. To the less cynical, it also represents an an example of the more open and transparent government that the Obama has tried to espouse.
The other video is one in which David Plouffe, senior advisor to President Barack Obama, and one of the architects of the Obama administrations efforts to engage with the American people, talks to Americans about how they can watch the president’s speech online and react to the president’s message with senior White House officials.
The public is urged to take part through a special White House website featuring an enhanced version of the State of the Union address that provides viewers with an insider’s guide on what to watch and listen for in the speech.
The White House YouTube messages may not rank on YouTube’s top hits list, nor do the video’s have the kind of national exposure once associated with coverage on network and cable news programs.
They are, however, clearly are finding an audience. As of midday yesterday:
- “Behind The Scenes: Writing the 2012 State of the Union Address” had been viewed by nearly 400,000 viewers
- The “Enhanced Version of the 2012 State of the Union Address” had been seen by more than 87,000 viewers.
- “David Plouffe on the State of the Union” had been seen by some 42,000 viewers.
At very least, the YouTube strategy, and the White House’s efforts to also user Twitter and Facebook sites represents something of a blueprint for senior executives for whom delivering a clear message to constituents is crucial to their organization’s success.