Back in January, I posted a story entitled, "Scott Brown beat Martha Coakley on YouTube, too." One of the lessons that campaign taught us was the importance of letting YouTubers add comments to your videos.
Image via Wikipedia
As I pointed out, the Coakley campaign for U.S. Senator in Massachusetts sent mix signals when "adding comments has been disabled for this video" appeared on her video, "Every Vote Matters."
Well, let's take a second look at the question.
One of the more popular videos in the UK general election on webcameronuk's channel is entitled "An invitation to join the government of Britain." Uploaded on April 13, it currently has 40,257 views.
If you scroll down the watch page, you'll see "Highest Rated Comments." As of this morning, the top comment reads:
"audiohead84 Tory priorities:
1. Cut minimum wage
2. Privatise the NHS/ School system
3. Reduce tax for the wealthy
"Most of the people who are interested in this debate understand the basic ideals of the conservative party. The sad thing is that this time around working class people who don't really know their politics are going to vote Conservative because the Sun told them to. When we get the conservatives, along with a vast reduction in public services, it will serve them right for their apathy."
The next top comment reads:
"Oceanus57 Tory policy in a nutshell:
Human beings are only motivated by two things - greed and fear.
Motivate the rich via greed.
Motivate the poor with fear.
Vile bunch of ignorant, arrogant toffs and snobs."
So, is it too clever by half to let YouTubers add comments to your videos?
What's the alternative? Encourage them to go add comments to another party's videos?
There were negative comments on Brown's videos during his campaign for U.S. Senator in Massachusetts. And his videos got 774,314 total upload views while Coakley's got 102,389 total upload views. And in the special election, Brown beat Coakley by only 109,425 votes.
So, comments are the price a candidate pays for running for office -- or standing for election -- in a democracy. And it's worth noting that the negative comments on "An invitation to join the government of Britain" don't seem to have prevented it from getting lots of views. In fact, the controversy may have helped it go viral.
There's a lesson here. What do you think it is?