I wonder if LonelyGirl15 is old enough to vote. In the newest of many attempts to get the youth of our nation to participate in the democratic process, YouTube and CNN are partnering to bring us the first of the Democratic primary debates.
I’ve written a good bit about new media and politics lately – especially in light of the primary we just had here in Philadelphia. I’ve also written a few entries about Google trying to take over the world. And I haven’t exactly been silent about the rise of the internet and the fall of the television.
But what really excites me about the potential of this debate is everything that will come before and after the 2 hours or so that the candidates will fight it out face-to-face.
YouTube is a repository for much of the world’s clutter. With every political flunky out there trying to exceed the brilliance of the Apple/Clinton 1980 ad, it’s likely to increase exponentially. So how do candidates break through before and after the debate?
Stories. There was nothing more brilliant than when President Clinton introduced the storytelling technique of “Farmer Joe, who is here today.” Why? Because Clinton was able to piggyback on the humanity and the goodness of the brave farmer from Nebraska. He was able to claim some of it as his own because he was the storyteller. And the American people loved him for it.
This election’s candidates would be wise to use YouTube to do the same leading up to and following the debate – whether it’s their own personal story, the story of the trials and tribulations of “an average American” or a story about how their policies have helped someone in a meaningful way. Stories are a way to break through the clutter. With more eyes turned to YouTube than ever before, that could be a way to win the new media battle. And eventually the general election war.