Some politicians have embraced the power of online video, but for most policymakers in Washington, YouTube is the place where cheeky young people create memes and auto-tune debates. Through a new initiative, YouTube is looking to change that. It has launched an official “YouTube for Government” homepage that gives politicians step-by-step instructions on how to create, utilize, and maximize their own YouTube channels.
The new page is split into two sections. The first part teaches government officials how to create their own channel and launch “an integral part of your online brand.” This page cites the official channel of the U.S. State Department as a particularly well-organized political channel.
The second section gives politicians tips on how to optimize their channels. Most of this stuff–annotations, live streams, curated playlists, etc.–is pretty straightforward, but it makes sense to explain it all in great detail so that even the oldest member of Congress can figure out how to do a Google+ Hangout.
Will politicians heed YouTube’s message? If they paid attention to the way the current administration used online video to promote Obamacare, members of Congress should be eager to get online and spread their own messages. When they do, YouTube’s new webpage should be able to answer any questions they may have.