So, last week, YouTube launched CitizenTube. It goes without saying that YouTube’s success until this point has been based on user-submitted content. The democratic free-for-all of viewers selecting their own favorite videos based more on word-of-mouth than featured content and suggested content was what made it a maverick.
That’s what makes this so interesting. It’s a pretty big deal for YouTube to experiment with not only the production of content with Steve, YouTube’s News and Politics Editor, but to encourage users to interact with politicians while directing users to specific channels with regularly updated videos.
So far, it seems to be going pretty well. A cursory look at today’s page shows Steve’s recent compiled videos, several Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns that are the vlog’s featured subscribers, and multiple posts from users mentioning fascism, Palestine, and email spam.
They’ve begun Phase Two of the vlog, which is the You Choose ’08 Spotlight. Each week, Steve will prompt vloggers for a video response to a question like this week’s “What Issue Matters Most to You in ’08?” and that issue will, eventually, be brought up with the participating nominees to address.
The questions left are: will users use it and will politicians continue to see the service as an easy opportunity to speak to voters or will they only see the democratic free-for-all that says on its main page what their potential constituencies really have on their minds: fascism, Palestine, and email spam?
It’s a cool concept and this video of Governor Mitt Romney’s answer to the question “What do you think is America’s greatest challenge?” is a great example of why. Check out some more videos at CitizenTube.