Some people like to call Obama the social media president. And, in truth, his campaign took advantage of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter in ways no other presidential candidate ever had, embracing the power of social media to get the message to the masses. He even used YouTube to make the official announcement that he was running for reelection. So it should be no surprise to see him use online video yet again.
Over the past 24 hours, four videos have made their way online that will completely dominate the online video news cycle for the coming week in much the same way last week's coverage was overtaken by the outbreak of tornadoes. When important world news breaks, it dominates the viral video world and demonstrates the speed and might of social media.
It all began on Saturday evening, at the annual White House Correspondent's Dinner. This is an event that typically involves some laughter and fun, and this year's was no different. And with Donald Trump himself in the house (he was invited before he became a recent thorn in Obama's side), there was one great big target for all the jokes.
And with SNL's Seth Meyers as the event's MC, there was a pretty good chance that fun would be poked at the Donald. Seth did not disappoint, and the 20-minute video of his monologue has already climbed up to nearly a million views:
But President Obama was not going to leave all the fun to Meyers. So he peppered his own speech with some digs at Trump (which, honestly, made things a bit uncomfortable, considering Trump was sitting right there):
Mr. Obama is clearly more popular than Seth Meyers, because the Obama clip is already nearing 4 million views!
But Obama wasn't done there. He also filmed and showed the Correspondent's Dinner attendees a fictional trailer for a King's Speech spoof called The President's Speech, and then released it on the official White House YouTube channel:
Despite not being very funny (in my opinion), audiences always appreciate politicians who can poke some fun at themselves, and the clip is already a quarter of the way to a million views.
But then… the weekend's biggest news came late last night, in the form of a live address to the nation, as President Obama told the world that U.S. forces had finally found and killed Osama Bin Laden:
The next presidential election isn't until November 2012, but really it just began, didn't it? And it began with a very tech-savvy administration taking advantage of YouTube—just look how quickly the fake trailer and the Bin Laden announcement speech were added to the White House YouTube page, for Pete's sake. When the week is over, and the view counts are tallied, you can expect Obama to be the star of several of the top-ten clips.
It should be a pretty fascinating next couple of years in politics, as online video and social media look to factor even more prominently in how people find their information and who they decide to vote for. As the L.A. Times said early last month, YouTube and social media are now absolutely crucial to politicians, particularly candidates for president. And anyone hoping to challenge for the White House had better come with their A game, because the sitting President and his team clearly have this Internet marketing thing figured out pretty well.