Social Networking and Political Change

“Bubbling Up: MySpace, YouTube, Social Networking and Political Change” was a session about how these and other similar services are making an impact in online activism.

Moderated by nonprofit entrepreneur Allison Fine, the panelists included James Rucker, of, Dina Kaplan of BlipTV and Joan “McJoan” McCarter of DailyKos.

Some of the more interesting points:

  • Rucker pointed out that despite the widespread of popularity of YouTube, there’s no easy way to tell a story around the video and to anchor the content as information presented by a reputable source. That’s why in part, he says, people still turn to sources like CNN, not only because stories are told by personalities people “trust,” but also that news is filtered for them.
  • Kaplan shared some success stories of videoblogging on, including Alive in Baghdad (ongoing video reports that empower Iraqis to share their stories with the world through their own words, rather than through the canned, soundbite-driven news packages), John Edwards sharing his presidential campaign launch through Rocketboom, and presidential candidate Tom Vilsack’s videoblog.
  • Kaplan also described how easy it was for the average Net user to create video content: “Just shoot a video on your phone, upload it and you’re a citizen journalist.” I think that is an example of how the citizen journalist concept has been oversimplified. Dan Gillmor in this audioblog reveals that the distinction between the mainstream journalist and the citizen journalist has become increasingly blurred by the act of journalism itself.

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