Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ron Paul Speaks Out On His Internet Popularity

At a recent Kansas City rally, Ron Paul addressed his overwhelming popularity amongst young, Internet Savvy voters. "It might just be that freedom is popular," said Ron Paul. Ron Paul is right about this, but he's being humble. The correct answer is, Ron Paul is popular. You see, the core Libertarian tenets for which Ron Paul stands have been popular ever since the founding fathers proposed them. The trouble is, through the detour of a bureaucratic two-party system, these Libertarian values disappeared from the mainstream and found purchase amongst a fringe. A fucking crazy fringe. I've been registered Libertarian since I was 18, but I've never voted for a Libertarian candidate. Not even once. Why? Because they're almost exclusively extremist wack-jobs. Seriously. They're a bunch of Anarchists. Not even college students are ready to get behind that. Then along came Ron Paul. He's like a Libertarian, but he's so... normal. (Viralroots is on the fence about coming out with an endorsement, but here's a good hint as to where I'm leaning.) Seriously, Mr. Paul. The values have always been there. Your success is entirely thanks to the way you sell them. Congrats.

YouTube For Issues: FrictionTV US Launch

FrictionTV is a UK video site organized to promote webcam video debate of topical social and political issues. Honestly, all of this goes on just fine on YouTube, but a service like FrictionTV makes the topics you want to discuss easier to fine and it keeps those topics focused.

via Mashable:, a video sharing site focused on hot button issues is set to launch in the US. Previously the site has been focused on UK users, who upload videos commenting on controversial topics like global warming, immigration, and the war in Iraq. also reaches out to cause-oriented organizations such as Stop the War Coalition to use the service to distribute information about their focus issues.

While users can always just upload the same videos to YouTube, caters to the controversial by offering up a dozen issue-oriented channels, such as Politics, Local Issues, and Environment. They also take a page from the YouTube playbook and feature “Hot Debates” (those with lots of plays) and “Fresh Debates” (the most recently uploaded). launched its beta in March.

Friday, June 29, 2007

YouChoose 08' Stats of the Week

The current standings on YouTube's YouChoose 08' viral platform is as follows:

Barack Obama: 3.4 Million Channel Views and 8500 Subscribers
Ron Paul: 1.2 Million Channel Views and 18,500 Subscribers
Hillary Clinton: 724,000 Channel views and 4400 Subscribers
Mitt Romney: 660,000 Channel views and 2300 Subscribers
John Edwards: 570,000 Channel views and 3200 Subscribers
John McCain: 440,000 Channel views and 1400 Subscribers
Dennis Kucinich: 420,000 Channel views and 2000 Subscribers
Rudy Giuliani: 103,000 Channel views and 1600 Subscribers

Despite Barack leading handily in this little snapshot of voter interest, I'm going to play the video that most stood out to me - John McCain's featured video of him at Nascar events. Clearly, he's trying to reach his constituency by showing his interest and support in the good ol' boy's world of Nascar racing. I think its smart. Dry, dense message clips aren't what anyone wants to see out there. Other candidates should learn from McCain on this one.

As a note to you non-race car fans out there, Nascar has grown to become the second-most popular pro-"sport" in terms of US television ratings, ranking behind only the NFL. Internationally,races are broadcast in over 150 countries and it boasts 75 million fans. (uh, dang..!) Check the video out here:

Viral Video Of The Week

Not gonna lie. This was kinda a slow week. The Viral Video Of The Week is a great one though. We featured it early when it was at 200,000 views. Now, it's up to 1,264,400 views. It also has 11,600 comments. I'm of course talking about Cops Vs. Skaters:
Up And Coming Viral Videos:
1. Statue of Liberty Vandalized with Donut!
2. Generally I don't count footage snatched from TV as viral video but this is just too good: Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC rips Paris report.
3. I have know idea what this is but this guy has like 20,000 subscribers.

Blogging From Line: iPhone Waiting Pushes Limits Of Hyper Local Content Delivery

Thanks to Web 2.0 applications such as ShoZu and Ustream, modern tech gurus such as Robert Scoble are delivering fresh content from the front lines of Apple Stores to desk jockeys like myself. Shozu let's you upload camera phone pictures directly to flickr. You can check out Scoble's picture from the line here. You can see live streaming video of the encampment on Ustream. With a Wifi connection, live updates of geek-celeb sightings come pouring in on his blog. It's amazing. And forget the iPhone, the possibilities are endless. The power of this technology is the ability to subvert network news coverage of live events. Drawing on my previous Web 3.0: Future Of Video post, I think it's clear that network news delivering cursory reporting on niche content is inherently flawed. I don't have a problem with sources covering Paris Hilton. But I don't see how that is good time utilization of network and cable news. But the type of interactive real-time content that could be assembled on location by web pioneers would be unrivaled by the networks. And with this iPhone thing, it's sorta happening now. Wifi coverage is growing. Mobile computing battery life is getting better. New photos come pouring into Flickr within minutes. Live video feeds and chat are available from a variety of sources including Ustream and Stickam. I can post to Viralroots from my Blackberry. Imagine an online community that sorts all of this incoming data by event. It would be like having a Google start page that does nothing but bombard you with live content from a Presidential debate, for example. Another page covers a concert. Others for a sporting event, a product release, a shuttle launch, a conference or convention. These are the possibilities. And it's all doable. We know this. Thanks to a nifty little phone.

Viral Marketing Watch: The Simpsons

I just found this bizarre YouTube video. It's tourist camcorder footage of the Statue Of Liberty with a giant pink Simpsons donut hanging over the Lady Liberty's torch. It looks fantastic but is obviously CG. Why? Cuz otherwise it would be the top story on CNN. Anyway, I could be wrong but I don't think this is a FOX marketing tactic. It appears to be the very smart work of an amateur. It was posted to YouTube by a user named LASicko. The account was created two days ago, which seems indicative of the launch of a corporate viral marketing campaign, but LASicko has Paris Hilton videos favorited which would be an odd move for FOX. My conclusion is that it's unaffiliated attempt to create a viral avalanche from The Simpsons Movie buzz.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chris Dodd YouChoose Spotlight: Social Networking Meets Hyper Local

I was seriously considering writing off Chris Dodd's YouChoose Spotlight to save you from boredom like I did for Sam Brownback's. But Dodd actually said something really interesting. He wants you to support his Defense Authorization Bill amendment that would require withdrawal to begin within thirty days of passage. Now, we all know that this will NEVER pass. And even if it did, Bush would veto it and there wouldn't be enough votes for an override. So it's not so much the WHAT I'm concerned with, but the HOW. Dodd is using the reach of Web 2.0 to encourage individuals to act locally and make videos of themselves pleading in person to legislators for support. Not a difficult task as legislators will be home on break. Then, upload the videos to YouTube and other social networks. The end-product is globally appreciated hyper-local ACTION. (And by ACTION, I'm not talking about sitting in your pajamas in front of a web-cam espousing witticisms. I mean taking to the streets, confronting legislators and reminding them that they are merely untrusted with the task of carrying out the will of their constituents.) It's pretty innovative. Elements of Web 3.0 dare I say? I am really curious to see what people come back with.

YouTube: The Book!

Michael Miller, an accomplished nonfiction writer in the world of computing and internet guides has recently released a book on using YouTube called YOUTUBE 4 YOU. Personally, (and in the tradition of Web 2.0) I thought YouTube was fairly self explanitory. A quick look at the description and table of contents below and it's clear that this book is written for tards. That said, it is ranked #4208 on which means that people are in fact buying it. If anything, this goes to show that YouTube is still largely untapped. The most viewed video on YouTube is at 51 million views. This seems like a huge number, but considering that the Internet is global, there is quite a ways to go. Who knows? For the less savvy, this book might actually be useful.

VIEW. UPLOAD. SHARE. That's what YouTube is all about–viewing, uploading, and sharing your favorite videos. And the book you hold in your hands will help you get the most out of this hot website. You'll learn how to find the latest viral videos, share your favorite videos with friends and the YouTube community, and shoot and upload your own videos to the YouTube website. YouTube 4 You is the first book to take you inside YouTube, show you how the site works, and provide tips and tricks for becoming a more successful YouTuber!

You’ll Learn How To
• Find and watch the latest videos
• Manage and share your favorite videos
• Download and save YouTube videos to your computer or iPod
• Upload your own YouTube video creations
• Get more out of the YouTube community
• Troubleshoot viewing and uploading problems

Introduction 1
Part I YouTube 4 Everyone
1 Welcome to YouTube 7
2 Getting Around the YouTube Site 13
Part II YouTube 4 Viewers
3 Finding Videos to Watch 27
4 Watching YouTube Videos 39
5 Managing and Sharing Your Favorite Videos 49
6 Downloading YouTube Videos to Your PC–and Your iPod 61
Part III YouTube 4 Video Makers
7 What Type of Videos Do You Want to Upload? 75
8 Creating Videos 4 YouTube 89
9 Uploading Videos to YouTube 99
10 Managing Your Uploaded Videos 109
11 Who Owns What: Legal Issues with YouTube Videos 117
Part IV YouTube 4 Advanced Users
12 Joining the YouTube Community–and Creating Your Own Channel 133
13 Adding YouTube Videos to Your Own Site or Blog 153
14 Profiting from Your YouTube Videos 163
15 Getting More Out of YouTube–With Third-Party Tools 175
16 Troubleshooting YouTube Problems 183

Fight The Powers That Be With YouTube

Don't let the man get you down, peace frog. When the fascist pigs are giving your friends a hard time, video it! And post that video to YouTube. The revolution isn't in the streets. It's on the Internet. And it's viral, baby.

Top left is a screen cap of a fat cop with two kids in a choke hold. Don't misread this situation. These kids are hardened criminals. They have severely violated a city ordinance and are under arrest. Their crime? Skateboarding in a public place. So clearly, Deliverance-cop's punishment meets the crime. Anyhow, the amazing thing about the Internet is that it probably doesn't matter how this cop's lawyer tries to justify his actions. This video has been seen 200,000 times so far. Just like in the case of the cop who called 911 tripping on evidence locker marajuana, that's all folks.

YouChoose Roundup

I liked writing the YouChoose Roundup last week. I think I'll stick with it. Every Wednesday. Same time. Same channel.

1. I Like Mike? Really? Sounds familiar... Oh wait. I get it. That's witty. Wait. Nope. It's lame.
2. Dennis Kucinich: 1974 called. They want their suit back. Not even the "every man" would be caught dead in that.
3. spittingame: If you want Sam Brownback to respond, you're gonna have to do the Numa Dance.
4. Jamie: Less politics more bootie dance plz! You're such a cutie! Send full-body-pic? LOLS!
5. Anyone else notice that John Edwards becoming Anne Coulter's campaign manager completely evaded the news?
6. Hillary Clinton and Ellen DeGeneres are a match made in heaven. I'm just sayin...
7. Barack Obama: Excellent use of white folk.
8. Stop trying to make Al Gore happen. It's not going to happen!
9. Rudy Giuliani: I don't care what Pat Robertson says. Conservatives (and Jesus) know you love the gays.
10. Sometimes you gotta pass on the politics for a little Phil Collins.

Breaking Viral Video: The Star Spangled Banner by Jib Jab

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dennis Kucinich: My Outsourced Campaign

In a potentially brilliant move, Dennis Kucinich is calling upon amateur film makers and videographers to join his campaign by producing Dennis Kucinich campaign videos that could potentially air as television commercials. Kucinich will watch them personally and might give you a call if he likes what he sees. Genius. Three words: Free Campaign Videos. He needs Hollywood to empty the wallets when you got YouTubers? And they can't all be shit, right? I mean, if it's anything like YouTube quality, he'll land like 70,000 crap videos with talking bunnies, booty dancing and angry guys hiding behind bandannas, but four of the advertisements will be great. At least worthy of airing on cable if not network, right?

Video of Elizabeth Edwards Calling Out Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter is a crazy this video of her on the defensive when John Edwards' wife Elizabeth calls into 'Hardball' to confront her on the personal attacks that Ann has flung at Edwards over the years. Elizabeth asks for compassion on the topic of her deceased son, to which Ann refuses to apologize and quickly jumps on the offensive to accuse both Edwards in profiting off her name. When Chris Matthews tries to her reaction...

New Barack Obama Iowa TV Ads

Check out these two new Obama Iowa TV Ads. Neither are as entertaining as the Hillary Clinton/Sopranos Spoof Video but check them out for yourself.

The first ad is titled "Carry" and chronicles Obama’s eight years in the Illinois State Senate. It discusses his bipartisan coalitions and features GOP Senator's lauding him.

The second ad titled “Choices,” highlights his years in Chicago as a community organizer, his graduation from Harvard Law School and his eventual return to Chicago to work in the local communities.

Monday, June 25, 2007

McCain...'They're Smoking Something' Video

When asked if he was going to drop out of the race, GOP candidate John McCain said that those thinking such a thought are 'Smoking something.' McCain's candid sound bites are kinda hilarious, remember when he said "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran," that was a good one. Check out this latest video here:

Web 3.0: The Future Of Video

Recently I've been working on an article about what video content will look like in Web 3.0. I've found the topic to be too cerebral and hard to explain without drawing pictures. And then I found the below video that sort of sums it all up nicely.

The future of streaming video is clear and it involves unprecedented access and live remixing (or live mash-ups). I see a future where individuals can subscribe (for a fee) to network satellite feeds just as easily as one can currently subscribe to a podcast. From there, in real-time, that network feed can be manipulated and rebroadcast, whether it be cut with personal footage, picture-in-picture or with graphical and audio overlay.
For example, if I like sports and want to host my own version of SportsCenter, I could do live audio commentary over a basketball game feed and rebroadcast it to the web, live and streaming. I could even have a p-i-p window with my face in it. We're at war in Iraq? I can broadcast my own liberal anti-war CNN with live insurgence video and graphics. Presidential debates? I could do my own witty Mystery Science Theater 3000 commentary or turn it into a group experience with live opinion statistics overlays (like the video above) and a chat window next to the video for group discussion of issues. For the celebrity gossip folk? Rather than go to the red carpet, Perez Hilton could just as easily make snarky comments into a web cam as he cuts from the E! red carpet feed back to the NBC feed and back to E! again. The possibilities are endless. Everyone gets to watch their favorite news show because they get to create their favorite news show.

And I'm not just talking live video communities as discussed here at TechCrunch. Just getting in front of a web cam is so amateur and voyeuristic. Not to mention creepy. Such a community is no different than the millions of shit videos and users that get buried on YouTube and MySpace. What I'm talking about is legitimate content with most definitely expensive licensing fees out of financial reach to your average schmuck with a web cam. The future of video is professional content with a twist. Interactivity. Targeted to niche audiences, by niche auditions.

Hillary Clinton Traffic Spike

Here's a look at the traffic statistics following the release of The Sopranos commercial.

This chart is Hillary Clinton's Alexa traffic ranking. Alexa ranks the top 100,000 trafficked websites. Prior to releasing the Sopranos video, she was sitting in the bottom 100,000. Upon releasing the video, her traffic spiked her to roughly the top 2,000.

This traffic graph shows the velocity, which is a measure of relative growth or deviation.
Finally, we're looking at the time spent at by visitors. You can see that the time required to watch the Sopranos video has multiplied average visitor attention by roughly 12 times. The video is a minute and thirty seconds long. If we were to assume that visitors watch the video and leave, that would suggest that an average visit prior to the Sopranos video was 1/12 of that or 7.5 seconds long. Considering that entering requires at least one click to bypass an email sign-up box, I think it's unlikely that the 7.5 seconds number is accurate. That would suggest that the Sopranos video prompts further browsing of the site, which would mean that it's not only been effective in creating buzz but also in getting people to learn more about Hillary.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hillary Clinton Sopranos Ad "Disgraceful," Says 1938 Media

Just wanted to throw this video up right quick. Loren Feldman at 1938 Media rags on the Hillary Clinton Sopranos Ad for, well, lots of things including associating a presidential candidate with America's favorite TV crime family. It's funny shit.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Viral Video Of The Week

It's not every day the entire planet gets to relive your childhood. Transformers are back, baby. And this week's Viral Video Of The Week is Smosh's Transformers Rap. 511,440 views and a huge 9360 ratings and 7487 comments.

Up And Coming Viral Videos:
1. Drama Prairie Dog
2. YouTube: Bring Back The Catagories (ya there's a spelling error in the title)
3. Crazy Japanese Arcade Game skills!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

YouChoose Roundup

It's been a little while since I've gone into any depth on YouTube's YouChoose '08, so I'll cover some bullet points:
  1. I'm not covering Sam Brownback's time in the YouChoose Spotlight. Why? Because I don't think anyone will give a shit if don't.
  2. It's a little surprising that Barack Obama didn't get a bigger pop in Channel subscriptions off of his Spotlight video. It's becoming obvious that the fanaticism is over and we've been over saturated. He still trails light-years behind Ron Paul, who continues to grow stronger.
  3. Why on earth didn't Hillary Clinton's people post her Soprano's spoof video to YouTube? Now, a handful of schmucks have uploaded it and are getting all the hits. With that mentality, they might as well hand the White House over to Fred Thompson on a silver platter.
  4. BTW, I really like Carl Bernstein's notion that Hillary and Bill would be co-presidents. If that was her platform, she would be unstoppable.
  5. I like Mike Gravel. He reminds me of my Grandpa. He sits you down and tells you a thing or two about the world.
  6. Is it bad to crack jokes about Maya Angelou? Like, is that just crossing line? Okay, I'll refrain.
  7. Dennis Kucinich: More hot wife please. You're starting to lose us.
  8. Tom Tancredo: Less walks down memory lane, more securing our borders please. I don't care where you went to elementary school.
  9. John McCain: Thanks! I'm actually dumber from watching your last video. It's good to know that if you were president my taxes would go to NASCAR stadiums (nascar is in stadiums, right?)

YouTube And Real Life Converge

Time to get out of the sweatpants, YouTubers. has organized a gathering of YouTube folk in New York on July 7, 2007. It seems to be organized like a conference with various events, meals and parties. Honestly, I don't know what to think about bringing an anonymous culture face-to-face. My immediate instinct says that upon doing so, one may experience regret. The same sort of regret caused by getting wasted and sleeping with a buddy's older, overweight sister. The next morning, you shuffle off with your eyes low and wish it never happened. In the past, I've been to DefCon and this just seems different. DefCon is geeks huddled around their computers still not talking or looking at each other. They take notes in lectures and compete in hacking tournaments. It's not a social experience. But social networking is, well, social. Generally, we try to be honest, at least I do, but who really knows? By what barometer could I possibly measure how accurately I represent myself on MySpace or on this blog for that matter? Meeting with "cyber friends" face-to-face forces you to confront that veil that most of us deny even having. And that could be weird. Even anxiety provoking. Given the amount of vice online, the Internet is sorta like Vegas. What happens here, stays here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Newt Gingrich: The Face Of The Republican Party

I like the music. They should show this video right after the safety instructions on domestic flights. Right before handing out complementary scotch to quell the jitters. By the way, people LOVE bitching about how YouTube and the net at large are overrun by liberals, but check out the comments on this video. They are overwhelmingly pro-Newt. I guess even the geeks can get confused.

Hillary Clinton Spoofs 'Sopranos' Finale

Check out Hillary's spoof of the Sopranos finale in her post on searching for her official campaign song. She seeks to court a percentage of the nearly 12 Million viewers that watched the finale on HBO.

Watch it here:

Uploaded by hotternews

btw, the winning song for Hillary's campaign (not that you care): You and I by Celine Dion

Maya Angelou Video on Hillary Clinton

Maya speaks out on her support of Hillary Clinton. Clearly, Hillary's courting the female vote and with Maya, she also attempts to retain support from the African America community as well.

The video is a bit slow for my taste, but check it out for yourself.

Monday, June 18, 2007

YouTube: Attack Of The Spam

It was inevitable. First, I started getting invitations to be friends with YouTube members with names like xSeeMeCumm6999xx. Now, spam videos are telling users to visit websites to get free pirated movies. These videos are making it onto the Most Viewed page. What's next? Viagra demonstrations with links to Canadian pharmacies? Video of penny-stock charts telling you not to miss the big move?

Friday, June 15, 2007

There Will Be Blood Trailer: Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Youtube is a place where content is often tested on a beta level. Check out this trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's next movie, There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day Lewis. Rumor has it that Anderson published the trailer to YouTube without studio permission to see how his cut plays with fans. Talk about instant feedback. Rather than a room of marketing executives debating the viability of mainstream marketing material, an entire audience of fans can chime in on YouTube overnight. In the name of self-preservation, it is unlikely that execs would ever take into account YouTube feedback in deciding what cuts of what spots to air on expensive mainstream outlets like television, but I certainly can't think of a better committee to run things by. Check it out:

Viral Video Of The Week

Using our magical (and patented) algorithm, we'll be coming at you every friday with a look at the week's most popular viral video. This week, clocking in with over 855,000 views, is Etch-A-Sketch artist George Vlosick etching LeBron James:

Up And Coming Viral Videos:
1. I Got A Crush... On Obama
2. Four Eyed Monsters
3. Cocky Winner

I Got a Crush ...On Obama

Check out the latest viral phenomenon. A video devoted to one girl's love crush on Barack Obama. In 2 days, its clocked in nearly 550,000 views. It's definitely a little goofy, a smidgen catchy and the girl is pretty smokin'...see for yourself:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Viral Video Backlash

I feel kind of silly giving credence to a shock story from some local New Jersey news source, but it's worth noting. I guess it's inevitable. Apparently, the prank-du-jour is placing bombs in mailboxes made out of chlorine tabs and rubbing alcohol mixed together in soda bottles. And there are TONS of videos of this on YouTube. Authorities are actually turning to YouTube to see if any videos identify "suspects." Firstly, I'm really glad to hear that this is how cops are spending their time. Surfing the web instead of out catching muggers. (I was in New Jersey a month ago. Trust me, teens blowing up mailboxes is the least of their problems.) Furthermore, the article suggests that teens are inspired to pull off these pranks by seeing them on YouTube. This is of course totally absurd. When I was a kid we used to put bombs in mailboxes and back then computers couldn't even render video. So in the viralroots tradition, I suggest you all go here and leave feedback for as many videos as possible. Read the article at

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Barack Obama In YouTube YouChoose Spotlight, Goes After Young People

The moment we've all been waiting for has arrived. Barack Obama is finally in the YouTube YouChoose Spotlight. Going after the youngsters, Obama discusses how we've lost touch with politics and asks young people to talk about what they're doing on a neighborhood level. Going into his time in the Spotlight, Barack Obama is clocking in with 6637 YouTube Channel Subscribers and 2,890,525 Channel Views. We'll be keeping an eye on these statistics on a daily basis. Here's the video (Nice face, by the way):

Tom Tancredo YouTube Spotlight Video A Dud

Last week, I praised Tom Tancredo for being the first presidential candidate to open dialog on a touchy issue in a YouTube YouChoose Spotlight Video. Well, apparently I've underestimated the YouTube constituency. Only three people felt that illegal immigration was an important enough topic to engage on while the very same topic is by far the most heated and front-and-center on The Hill today. For Tancredo, a ballsy and important move has proven a dud. And it's not as if people just didn't watch it. It currently has over 300,000 views. It even has an insane number of text comments clocking in at nearly 1500, but mostly fluff. I wonder if this is an issue of anonymity? Are people afraid to show their faces? If that's true, where's that guy with the cowboy bandana? (Maybe he's too busy reading about himself at heh.) It's really a shame because the three responses given are some of the most personal ever offered up in YouTube politics. So as elections near, the truth of viral video will be revealed. Is this a medium for authentic and effective political discourse, or is it about as relevant as Campus Republicans? Let's take a look at the three brave respondents:

Spielberg Backs Hillary

The biggest director in the world has signed on to endorse Hillary Clinton for President. (Obama's the bridesmaid and Edwards is the ring bearer.)

Read more about Hillary's announcement HERE. And for any non-cinephiles out there, Spielberg's directing credits include:

Indiana Jones 4 (upcoming)
War of the Worlds
Saving Private Ryan
Jurassic Park
Schindler's List
Indiana Jones 1,2,3
Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Will this entertainment magnate shift the winds of candidate alignment? Can this influence others in Steven's Dreamworks entourage?

Also...those of you that discount the influence of people in the entertainment field should cross reference these movies (and the dozen or so others that he's done) with your childhood... and recognize!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Voter Fatigue is Lame

There are 18 declared Republican and Democratic contenders, so far... which in my mind is not nearly enough. I wanna see 30+ contenders, stranded on an island, put through an American Gladiator-esqe maze-o-death with guns that shoot tennis balls and as they are forced to debate the merits of stem cell research and immigration law...I cannot get enough of these guys! But, there are others... The feeble, the weak. The ones that need a summer break from the candidates. I poop on their weakness.

Although... despite my immaturity and blind enthusiasm, I am not without self evaluation.

Let's think about this for a second. Am I off base for pooping? Is there really candidate interest fatigue? Or is it a broader systemic apathy towards our political machine?

A mere 3 million people watched the debates recently...a minuscule number compared to the 70 million that watched the Kennedy / Nixon debate in 1960.

In 1960 we had 179 Million people in the US. Today, we have 300 Million. Which means, in 1960, 39% watched the debate and today 1% are watching. Geez. Even if we are busy with Xbox, Sopranos finales and MySpacing...isn't this an overly pronounced drop off in relative interest? I'd say the answer is yes. Yes, there is systemic apathy, but I'd also argue that the driven minority of us shouldn't stop buzzing on our government. There is just too much drama in these candidates.

The parallel question is: Will online buzz and subsequent online voting effect future voter turnout. If we don't have enough energy to drive to a polling place and stand in line, will we have just enough motivation to make a few clicks? I'd argue that we'll see a return to our voter turnout prominence once we make it easier to vote. We'll see.

Read more from a proper journalist on voter fatigue HERE.

YouTube And Viral Features

This weekend I attempted to watch Four Eyed Monsters by Susan and Arin on YouTube. I say attempted because I've never taken too kind to whiny emo shit. But given the face of the social Internet, I'm clearly in the minority. In all fairness, what I saw was really quite good. Anyway, Four Eyed Monsters is the first feature length video ever to be featured on YouTube. Clearly, it's not the first on the Internet, as we all remember Loose Change, but it's the first to have promotional tie-ins with the likes of YouTube as well as a social movie reviews site called Spout has agreed to give the indy film team a dollar towards the film's negative cost for every sign-up referred through this one week YouTube promotion. While I would say that this video has had a relatively low number of views (roughly 283,000, while a video of some guy solving a Rubik's cube has nearly three times that number in almost the same time period), Susan and Arin are still the the big winners. Their dollar-per-sign-up promotion is yielding a conversion rate of about 5.67%. They've already earned over $16,000. committing a buck a sign-up says one thing: They are clearly selling your personal information to telemarketers. Because there's no other way they are recouping that dollar. Granted, they have experienced one hell of a traffic boost since the Four Eyed Monsters promotion began. But still, they've had traffic volume this high in the past which has not stuck.
So, here are the big future-forward questions: What happens when more people want to exhibit features online? If there is an inundation of features, will recouping through a-buck-a-sign-up promotions be feasible? Do such YouTube pushes result in expanded DVD sales following the free viewing period? In the long run, who gains from this? The creators? The exhibitors/aggregators? Can studios with real production facilities compete? It goes on and on. Hang on to those vague questions and we'll dive in more specifically at a later date, cuz right now, I need a nap.

We Didn't Start The Grassfire: Conservatives Use The Internets Too

In the past, I've admittedly been rough on conservative efforts to seize the opportunities of the Internet. (See QubeTV Article.) I promise to be nice this time because really is a well designed home for conservative Viralroots movements. They've produced some commercials that have comparable production value to commercials (albeit without celebrity endorsement.)

They also have issue blurbs and each issue has a "take action" button that leads you to specific instructions on acting on that issue. And they have petitions. Their "Tell Congress You Oppose The Amnesty Bill" petition has 668,766 signers. Okay, I lied. They're not getting off that easy. Part of the power of the Internet is that content is mostly explicitly targeted by users through search. This is as opposed to advertisers posting billboards or TV ads hoping to hit people interested in what they have to offer by targeting demographics. The Internet is an active medium. If I'm interested in signing an anti-amnesty bill, I will find one through search and I will sign it. Now, if I were spearheading a petition against illegal immigration, I would want as many signatures as possible. Period. And since we've seen that this is an issue that transcends party lines, I would rely on the power of search to bring those signatures to me rather than relying solely on a conservative demographic. Merely grouping such a petition with other hardcore conservative content clearly scares away non-conservatives who stumble upon this petition via search. I say this because the GrassFire Anti-Immigration Petition also asks one chime in on pro-life, pro-family and pro-gun issues where it clearly need not. I mention this only because my Libertarian leanings draw me to supporting secure borders, but one look at the GrassFire petition and I go running for the hills. I guess this is a really long way of saying that there is party politics, and there is grassroots politics. And often, grassroots is about issues that transcend party politics. And you can make that work for you by remaining focused on individual issues and keeping it non-partisan, thereby opening up your support base to all voters.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mike Gravel Hires Oliver Stone To Cut Campaign Commercials

NOT REALLY. But look at these YouTube campaign videos. They's some weird shit. I don't do nearly enough drugs to fully appreciate. In the first one, I think he's making a statement about health care by feigning Alzheimer's. The second, well, there's fire. And if you look really carefully, you can spot an Indian with a bleeding soul.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Viral Politics takes to Ning, The Social Network For Social Networks

Ning is a fairly new venture by a team including one the the Netscape founders. It is a platform for building your own social networks. Last time I've checked, that's exactly what Facebook has become, but never mind that now. Anyway, the point is it's the newest Internet outlet that netroots political supporters have taken to. There are already social networks created for most of the popular candidates, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul...

The problem with allowing users to dictate what might constitute an affiliation is that it actually discourages unity and cooperation. I say this based on the fact that if you search for say Ron Paul, there's 6 different Ron Paul networks that appear. And it's not like one is for "hollywood gays for Ron Paul" and another for "gun-toting anti-Semites for Ron Paul". That would make sense. But Nope. They're all competing versions of "Ron Paul For President." This sorta suggests that Ning is going to need to undergo some sort of evolution to separate itself from Myspace, YouTube and Facebook. Because as-is, it seems to be competing head-to-head, but from light-years behind the pack.

That said, the platform seems to have a uniquely flexible architecture as some pages are heavily customized like the Rate This Candidate social network. But still, it would be nice to see a political network that includes various applications such as one for rating candidates. It should not exist as a network itself. Check out

Thursday, June 7, 2007

For Politicians, Internet Is Effective, And Safer Too

Punch flies on Senate floor
Posted by Birmingham News staff June 07, 2007 3:24 PM

MONTGOMERY -- State Sen. Charles Bishop hit Sen. Lowell Barron on the floor of the Senate this afternoon, saying Barron called him an s...o...b.

The Senate was in recess when Bishop, a Republican from Arley, and Barron, a Democrat from Fyffe, started an animated conversation. Bishop suddenly hit Barron in the face, and Barron fell back onto a desk.
Keep reading at

The Revolution Will Be YouTube'd

I Just wanted to share what I consider to be a pivotal article about Viralroots politics. It's from Jeff Jarvis of The Guardian and BuzzMachine. It more eloquently summarizes the impact the Internet has on election politics than I could ever do.
Guardian column: The YouTube campaign

Why YouTube gets my vote for political punditry

Jeff Jarvis
Monday January 29, 2007
The Guardian

The revolution will not be televised. It will be YouTubed. The open TV of the people is already turning into a powerful instrument of politics - of communication, message, and image - in the next US presidential election. Witness: Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards; Republican Sam Brownback; and more candidates just announced their runs for the White House not in network-news interviews, nor in big, public events, but instead in their own online videos.

The advantages are many: the candidates may pick their settings - Edwards in front of a house being rebuilt in New Orleans; Clinton in a room that reminds one of the Oval Office. They control their message without pesky reporters’ questions - Edwards brought in the video-bloggers from to chat with him; Brownback, a religious conservative, invoked God and prayer often enough for a sermon; Clinton was able to say she wants to get out of Iraq the right way without having to define that way. They are made instantly cybercool - I’m told by the Huffington Post that liberal hopeful Rep. Dennis Kucinich is carrying around a tiny video camera so he can record messages in the halls of congress; and Democrat Christopher Dodd has links on his homepage to his MySpace, Facebook and Flickr sites, making him come off more like a college kid than a white-haired candidate. But most important, these politicians get to speak eye-to-eye with the voters.

Internet video is a medium of choice - you have to click to watch - and it is an intimate medium. That is how these candidates are trying to use it: to talk straight at voters, one at a time.
Keep reading at Jeff Jarvis's Buzzmachine.

Ron Paul on the Daily Show with John Stewart

Ron Paul recently appeared on the Daily Show with John Stewart (June 4th) to discuss his role in the presidential race. We dig his plain spoken interviews with taste makers like John Stewart.

As a reminder, for those of you dizzied by the 20 or so candidates you've seen in the recent debates between the GOP and Democrats - he's a 10 term Republican Congressman from Texas. Back in the 80's he was a Libertarian. He's against involvement in Iraq, calls Halliburton evil and seems to be up for the challenge of digging into the other candidates' leads. Check the video out:

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tom Tancredo Puts Spotlight On Illegal Immigration

Finally, a candidate takes to the YouTube YouChoose Spotlight with an actual issue position. And it happens to be the issues that I've been dying to hear candidates discuss. The candidate is Tom Tancredo and the issue is Illegal Immigration. In Tancredo's video, he acknowledges the abstracts of illegal immigration and asks us to discuss how in practice it has impacted our lives. Folks, I would like to award Tom Tancredo a Viralroots gold star of the year. I'm sure that this video will spark some interesting debate. Illegal immigration is no doubt an emotional and heated discussion. Candidates often fail to go into it in any detail. I'm looking forward to the responses this prompts.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ron Paul On Bill Maher Remixed

Previously, we posted footage from Ron Paul of his Appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher. You might have noticed that since then the video has been taken down by YouTube for copyright violations. The video has now resurfaced from the Ron Paul camp, but now it's re-cut with a fancy lead-in and graphics prompting you to watch Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO. This seems to be a game of lets-make-a-deal between Time Warner and the Ron Paul people, no?

Monday, June 4, 2007

CNN Stoops To Blogosphere

In the wake of Sunday's Democratic Debate, CNN's network television coverage included a look at reactions in the Blogosphere. Their coverage included polling from Daily Kos and MyDD. Wow. Either CNN has gotten really smart or really dumb. I'm just not sure.

Friday, June 1, 2007

YouTube Spotlight: Joe Biden Gives Lousy YouTube

Joe Biden has a way in debates, interviews and speeches of coming across as sort of the too smart, too angry, charismatic yet arrogant type. He's usually well spoken and somewhat of a wise-ass. But in his YouTube YouChoose Spotlight video, he more closely resembles a Bush 3.0. He comes across as entirely out of sync with technology and he constantly restates the obvious. In the end, he asks us what we are willing to do to free our dependence on oil. Well, there it is. So instead of being redundant and showing you the video, let's take a look at some of the most interesting responses (Ya, there's only two. Go figure. (p.s. The second one I really agree with. Deal with the hand that we're dealt. Fact: We drive. So in the meantime, incentivize driving all light cars (like my 2000 Civic which gets 32mpg and had virtually undetectable emissions at my smog check), not just hybrids because the mileage is in fact comparable)):