There was an idiot in the audience of Question Time last night. That’s no great sticks of course, idiots are all pervasive in Question Time audiences, as is their wont. But this particular idiot made me think. It’s often the way, idiots do tend to stimulate your brain, rather counter-intuitively.
Anyway, she said that Gordon Brown should be applauded for using youTube, because it meant that he could involve more young people in politics.
I’m not sure that’s true.
In the same way that social networking sites, blogs and Twitter don’t democratise the apparatus of the news, youTube doesn’t engage a new audience. If you’re logging in to watch Lol Cat Haz Cheeseburger, I doubt you’re going to click a video of Gordon Brown talking about MPs expenses.
Did Obama get such a youthful following because of his youTube presence, or did he simply use his rhetorical oratory to inspire the young? The ability to deliver a rousing good bottom spank of a speech, using whatever medium is available to you, is surely more relevant than the means in which your video has been encoded.
The testament to this is the manner in which Brown’s video has been dissected. I don’t remember seeing a single analysis of the actual content of his address, and far too much mocking of “that smile”; the smile of a man who is clearly uncomfortable talking to a lens, and nothing more.
This says much more about the way in which politics is presented, with too narrow a focus on process stories and intrigue. Nick Robinson is chief among all the culprits. He was the national Chairman of the Young Conservatives. Doesn’t mention that on his blog biography does he?