Research Project Anyone? Obama/McCain Youtube edition

A couple of facts, then a question:

The intertubes seem here to stay.

They facilitate a model of communication that is word-of-mouth-on-steroids, in contrast to broadcast models.

The political campaigns, and advertisers in general are trying to figure out (a) how to tap into the combination of (potentially) large numbers and the emotional power of pull rather than push media (ie — stuff you choose to look for as opposed to stuff shoved in your face in the middle of a media stream).

So here’s a very cool test case happening in real time right now.

Step one: Will.I.Am’s Obama “Yes We Can”piece.

This is the most viewed example of the video on Youtube — over three million views as of this writing. A quick count shows other uploads with a little over 600,000 additional views — and there is a home site —— with a higher quality video available; they show 3.5 million views on their counter, though I do not know if this aggregates other sites’ views.

Next up — with some similarities, this video:

Views so far: 27,508.

And then this:

Views so far? 232.

The original has had plenty of play, and continues to rack up views; I imagine it will start turning up in mainstream media, if only as a point of reference.

The other two are just at the start of their digital-viral lifecycle. What happens next? Are these infections in search of hosts, likely to remain merely endemic in the relatively contained habitats of snark-in-the-know? Or do these break out into the kind of impact that the original is seeing? If so, how — what triggers interest in the messages? What impact on emotions or decisions might this kind of message have. In the cases of either epidemic spread or mere endemic survival, what drives the epidemiology here?

There is a lot more than mere politics hidden here. An enormous amount of very smart applied psychology has gone into the crafting of political advertising. But this stuff is new both in its form; and in its relationship to audience. So consider this a call to all those neuro/psych-enabled folks out there to look at these not just as political theater, but as a natural experiment at the interface between new media and human behavior. political/psychological experiments as well.

h/t John Cole and his Balloon Juice commentators.

Update:  corrected bad YouTube embed.

Explore posts in the same categories: McCain, media, Obama, political follies, Politics

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