Barack Obama’s rise as a prominent politician had a lot to do with his broad, sweeping speeches. The first American president of the Social Media age has set a standard on how politicians should connect with a tech-savvy electorate. He has leveraged digital media better than most of his counterparts.
A couple of days ago, he delivered his seventh and last State Of The Union (SOTU) speech and tried to invoke hope and optimism about America’s future. Now, continuing a tradition that started in 2010 after his very first SOTU address, he is going to appear in a Live YouTube interview on Friday. He will be interviewed by 3 popular YouTube creators who are going to ask him questions of their own and also those submitted by Social Media users under the hashtag #YouTubeAsksObama. The event will start at 2:15 PM ET on Friday and will be streamed Live on the White house YouTube channel.
Note: The White house YouTube channel has added 10,000+ new subscribers to its channel just today!
The YouTube creators interviewing Obama
Obama is going to be interviewed by:
Destin Sandlin – an engineer from Alabama
Ingrid Nelsen – a 26 year old fashion guru from California
Adande Thorne – a professional gamer and animator from Florida
Destin runs a popular education channel on YouTube called Smarter Everyday which has over 3.5 million subscribers. He shoots AK-47 underwater, shows you the insides of a Kangaroo Pouch and even burns astronaut pee to demonstrate scientific principles!
Ingrid uploads lifestyle and fashion videos on her channel missglamorazzi which has almost 4 million subscribers! She filmed a coming out video in 2015 that attracted more than 13 million views!
Besides fashion & style, her videos also touch upon serious topics like gay rights, unemployment, healthcare etc.
Adande, popularly known as sWooZie has over 3.7 million subscribers on his channel! Born in a tiny town in Trinidad a and Tobago, he moved to Orlando,Florida in his childhood. He has claimed in many of his videos that he worked in Disney World and Hard Rock Hotel before his YouTube fame. You might remember his famous video on an incident of racial profiling by a traffic cop in Daytona Beach, Florida.
According to YouTube, these 3 creators were selected based on their audience size, how relevant SOTU themes are to their audiences; and their ability to bring a fresh perspective to the most important issues of our time.
However; this novel approach by the White House to reach out to the younger audience comes with an inherent risk! In the 2015 interview, popular YouTuber GloZell who was one of the 3 interviewers, used an expletive while describing Fidel Castro and referred to Michelle Obama as “your first wife“.
What people actually want to #AskObama
While there hasn’t been a huge frenzy on Soical Media yet, quite a few people have started asking their questions to the President already. Here are a few we picked from Twitter:
What sWooZie wants to ask himself:
— sWooZie (@sWooZ1e) January 11, 2016
Gamer Jackie Butler wants answers to an old conspiracy theory:
— Jackie (@JackieMButler) January 14, 2016
With all due respect Mr President, what is your favorite meme? #YouTubeAsksObama
(Let's decorate this post with hearts and RT. Thank you)
— iFunny Chef (@iFunnyChef) January 12, 2016
Gamer Julio has a serious question to ask:
#YouTubeAsksObama How do you feel about the corporate millionaires corralling all major media outlets against progressive Bernie Sanders?
— Julio Gonzalez (@ThatOneTomahawk) January 12, 2016
Even YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki can’t wait to watch #YouTubeAsksObama:
— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) January 15, 2016
If you have seen a funny or interesting question on the hashtag, please share it with us and we’ll add it to this list.
Most Social president ever?
Obama has held Q&A sessions after all his previous SOTU addresses on YouTube and Google Hangouts. And this time around, the White House has upped the ante and is broadcasting the interview not just on YouTube, but also on Amazon Instant Video! And to showcase the “Behind the scenes” look at his preparations for the SOTU address, it even launched a Snapchat account on Monday! The debut clip showed an empty oval office with its standard bowl of fresh apples.
Jason Goldman, the Chief Digital Officer of White House wrote in his blog post that all these efforts are to “meet people where they are”. This is in fact a testimony to the recognition of the massive shift in the way Americans consume entertainment these days; through on-demand video.
“So, for those who’ve cut the cord from cable and network TV: Whether you use a smart TV, web browser, mobile device or tablet, there’s a way for you to watch the President’s speech as it happens and on-demand,” Jason says in his blog post.
The way forward
Obama has had a tough run in the last few months. He had to face a barrage of criticism from media, his opponents and even some of his ardent supporters. A photo comparison of his first and the last SOTU address was trending on Social Media; as if like a testimony to the hardships that he had to go through in the 7+ years that he’s been in the office.
Despite all the criticism, one thing that he did consistently throughout his term was – being in touch with the general population. Be it through his Google+ hangouts in the west wing, virtual fireside chats, virtual road trips, reddit AMAs and YouTube interviews. We just hope that all leaders of states take inspiration from his efforts and follow suit in the days to come.
We wish you a happy retirement, Mr. President.
An online junky who can't get enough of memes, movies and music. I'm a marketing specialist at Vidooly.