For those of you who haven’t heard, Obama will be the first President of the United States to deliver his weekly address over video. Obama’s first address as President Elect went live Nov. 14, 2008, and is currently hosted on YouTube. Frankly, I think this is an amazing way to reach out to the public. I mean, how many people knew that President Bush had weekly radio addresses, let alone listened to them?
I do find it interesting that comments are disabled on Obama’s YouTube videos. Would full transparency not include feedback on the President Elect’s speeches? Perhaps they think that YouTube isn’t the best forum for discussing presidential mandates. YouTube has developed a less than stellar reputation for the quality of its comments. In either case promoting discussion is certainly one of the administration’s goals, so why disable commenting?
Another interesting point is brought up by Allen Stern over at Information Week (see article). Why is Obama exclusively hosting his videos on YouTube? There is no denying the ubiquitous nature of YouTube, but shouldn’t the Obama administration at least offer the original videos for download on whitehouse.gov or change.gov? That way users could upload the videos to whatever video sharing site they prefer.
It could also be that YouTube is simply a stop-gap until the administration has more time to figure out the best way to distribute the videos. What do you think?