YouTube Wants Your Senator To Be A Vlogger

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YouTube is quickly taking over as the platform for our biggest national conversations. Everyone has the ability to broadcast, earn an audience, and make their voice heard. Oddly, some of the notably silent voices in the YouTube revolution have been some of the loudest voices in other mediums. Politicians, for the most part, haven’t taken to YouTube in huge numbers despite its huge potential to amplify their message. That’s something that YouTube is actively trying to change with its new “YouTube for Government” destination, a site specially designed for legislators and their aides to ease them into using YouTube as a tool.

Last spring President Obama held a White House summit with prominent YouTubers to discuss ways to educate the public about the Affordable Care Act.
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Obviously YouTube has a lot to offer our government officials. Not just a huge audience, but an audience made up mostly of the exact people they most need to reach. YouTube is a direct line to millennials, the generation that is, at least statistically speaking, the least engaged in politics. For many millennials government can feel distant or uninterested in their most pressing problems, but the same immediacy that makes Grace Helbig feel like a close personal friend could also make your congressman feel like someone accessible who cares about you and the issues affecting your life.

Of course with that opportunity to connect with the YouTube generation comes some danger. As several creators have recently learned, the ability to broadcast an unfiltered version of yourself can do more harm than good. Just like brands and marketers attempting to crack the YouTube code, politicians run the risk of coming off as insincere, phony, or worst of all, clueless. Elected officials have occasionally been accused of failing to fully understand the internet, a point that has been driven home during the recent net neutrality debate. Before jumping in with both feet, politicians would be wise to study the YouTube landscape and learn how to speak the local language.

That’s something that The White House did earlier this year. Last spring President Obama lead the charge onto YouTube by holding a summit at the White House with some of the platform’s most popular creators to discuss ways to educate the public about important initiatives like the Affordable Care Act. More recently First Lady Michelle Obama sat down with Tyler Oakley to discuss her Reach Higher education initiative, proving that sometimes you just have to let a professional YouTuber take the wheel.