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Power shifting from politics to Youtube

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A screenshot from President Obama’s State of the Union Address webcast via Youtube. A telephone button there allows viewers to ask him a question during the webcast, to which, the President will actually answer them on another webcast.

In the recently concluded State of the Union Address by United States President President Obama touched on various topics that that summed up USA’s situation over the past year, and his plans for USA in the coming years.

Since the State of the Union Address isn’t broadcasted here in Singapore, I have to catch it over Youtube – which actually offered live webcasting as the President speaks.

What really caught my eye immediately was the small cute telephone icon beside the Youtube header. Curiously, I moved my cursor over and a small tool tip (the small label that pops up) that says “Ask President Obama a question”.


Clicking on the telephone icon brought me to a Youtube micro-site, dedicated for Americans to ask a question directly to their president. According to The New York Times, such a platform is “intended to add a more personal touch to the usual discussion of health care, war and unemployment”.

A screenshot from President Obama’s webcast that answers questions from audiences who had submitted questions via Youtube’s platform during the State of the Union Address.

The use of social media has been a growing trend these days, with many countries’ politicians jumping on the bandwagon.


Social media platforms like facebook and blogs, boost politicians’ connectivity with the commoners. Just like our foreign minister Mr George Yeo stated in a recent The New Paper (TNP) report, he views such platforms as a form of cyber-walkabout. Instead of the usual visits to his constituencies to understand what’s going on, he sees facebook as a 2 way connection to keep in touch with citizens. While the minister shares his work activities with Singaporeans, he too read about the various posts on facebook to understand the ground.

Foreign Minister George Yeo talks about using social media as a platform to better understand younger citizens, and he sees social media similar in importance as his usual MP walkabouts in his constituency. (The New Paper, 16 Jan 2011. *Click for larger picture)

Stepping back 10 years ago, trying to “connect” to the common folk on the hourly basis isn’t possible for any politician, let alone trying to “connect” while cooped up in office. But today, ministers like Mr Yeo could do so in a constant fashion simply because of the widespread adaptation of social media.

I personally believe it is that ease and non work invasive nature that really made such connections possible. Anyone with a smartphone can connect to anyone, and could actually do so while multitasking with other activities.

Students today are embracing this avidly, by surfing facebook profiles while in lectures….. You get the idea. 🙂




Written by garygoh

January 31, 2011 at 1:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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