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Every semester, I teach a class at SDSU on the power of viral marketing and the impact web sites like YouTube.com are having on the public. It’s a chance for the students to share their own favorite viral videos as well as open my eyes to the latest online buzz.

This week was all about the battle between Hillary and Obama and the extremely viral videos that are circulating online and helping to shape the online political battlefield. The most popular video showed this year involved the Obama Girl, and her now famous “I’ve got a crush on Obama” video.

With more than 6 million views, the Obama Girl has quickly become a recognized online super hero, being interviewed on top television news shows like Glenn Beck, Fox News and MSNBC. Obama Girl was even awarded the “2007 Hottest Girl on the Net” by E!.

The Hillary supporters can’t let the Obama fans take all the momentum from YouTube. A fan of Hillary recently released his video “I’ve got a crush on Hillary” to rival Obama Girl.

Hillary supporters also released “Hillary and The Band” video as a comical parody to the “Making of the Band” show. At the end of the parody which shows Hillary making a surprise rock star appearance to help the band, it says “Okay, Maybe Hillary doesn’t shred. But she will: Make College Affordable. Fight Global Warming. END THE WAR. Find out how at HillaryClinton.com”

Aside from the comical, light-hearted videos, we are also seeing powerful images emerge, such as the online music videos created by Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am. Spend a moment to check out his video based on Obama’s famous “Yes We Can” speech

Also take a look at “We are the Ones” video featuring famous faces like Jessica Alba talking about why they support Obama. I showed these videos to my husband last night with my 3 year old son sitting on my lap. By the end of the “We are the Ones” video, my 3 year old was chanting “Obama! Obama! Obama!” It’s a catchy song, even for me, who is a Hillary supporter.

In the previous election, we saw the Internet play a role in the rise and fall of presidential hopeful Howard Dean. He was one of the first to launch a successful grassroots online fund raising campaign with overwhelming success. However in the same way his grassroots campaign went viral, the “Dean Scream” lead to his downfall, as it was watched over and over online, and even parodied in such YouTube Videos as those created by Jib Jab.

The best thing about the Internet is that it provides a medium for all people, regardless of credentials or budget to express their opinions and make a statement – and actually influence people in a dramatic way. But do you think any of these videos are enough to actually sway voters? And how important of a role is YouTube and technology playing in the 2008 presidential campaign? And where are the McCain videos? I’d like to hear your thoughts on the role technology plays in the current race, as well as take a look at any videos you’ve seen worth adding to the conversation….I look forward to your comments!

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Billy April 2, 2008 @ 7:41 p.m.

Anything that gets young people engaged in politics and to the polls this November is a good thing. Youtube videos are just the latest way for the politicians to connect with young people (Bill Clinton had to go on Arsenio Hall and play the sax when he ran).

Here's a McCain video from youtube playing off the will.i.am one since you asked (though admittedly not pro-McCain):



Matt July 9, 2008 @ 3:45 p.m.

Obama's videos are definitely powerful. He creates a very strong emotional attachment with the audience. They are also getting comments that are a lot more positive from viewers than McCain.

McCain's attempt at a viral campaign has found some very negative comments. The viewers have nearly created a debate in the comment sections, which I feel will sway more voters than the actual videos.

As I side note, I hear amazing things about your lectures at SDSU. Being a recent grad it is fun seeing lecturers taking actions beyond the classroom.


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