July 18, 2007 | Graham

John Howard on Climate Change on YouTube

John Howard seems to at last be getting the hang of new technology. Last election he was spamming voters, with the assistance and advice of son Tim. This election he is mixing it with all the coolest of us on YouTube.

One of the things with a YouTube video is that you can’t pick how you will appear. So the Howard video shares the same page (at least when I accessed it this morning) with “John Howard asleep on climate change“, the ALP attack ad on his record; “Climate Change, a video from ALP front-bencher Lindsay Tanner; “Re: Prime Minister John Howard, climate change announcement“, a response from someone styling themselves planetnerd.
Some interesting statistics. The PM’s video has been viewed 14,103 times, compared to the ALP’s at 1,399 views, Lindsay Tanner’s at 253 and planetnerd’s at 216; demonstrating perhaps the benefits of incumbency, or the value of heavy cross-promotion in other media.
Actually, when you scroll down a bit further you find “Clarke and Dawe on climate change” with 3,436 views, so perhaps number of views is linked to the comedic ingredient of your video?
There are also some interesting comments on the bottom Howard’s video, indicating that YouTube is not necessarily friendly space to him, or friendly at all – some of the commenters demonstrate the need for an Internet protocol for soap so their mouths can be washed out! YouTube should look to installs some sort of filter to stop this sort of crap getting through. And one commenter has the hide to complain that comments have been removed!
It’s surprising that the Liberal Party has taken so long to catch onto YouTube. Some years ago they created a minor furore by producing video press releases which they sent out to regional television stations to save them the time and trouble of taking their own footage. I always thought that was a brilliant idea. YouTube is just an extension of that where you don’t need to put a postage stamp on the release – someone else will forward it on for you.

Posted by Graham at 9:47 am | Comments (11) |
Filed under: IT


  1. alas, too late. i have formed the habit of changing channels when the rodent appears, i’m not about to wait for him to download.

    Comment by al loomis — July 18, 2007 @ 1:43 pm

  2. Graham,
    You can’t possibly be serious when you suggest that having a talking head spruiking policy a la 1956 TV is “getting the hang of new technology.”
    I think the labor ‘ad” with the eyebrows is much more technology savvy. And they had it ready to go as soon as Howard released his so the contrast couln’t have been more stark.

    Comment by barney — July 19, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

  3. If you have a look at the comments today you’ll find that comments have been cleared several times since the video went up. Favourable and unfavourable ones. People seem to see that as akin to being told to shut up.
    On the number of views, I wonder how many of them went there just to leave a comment? There are an awful lot of comments that have nothing to do with climate change. It looks very much as though people are trying to use it as a communication channel to the PM, so finding their comments are just being deleted won’t make them very happy.

    Comment by Lyn — July 19, 2007 @ 4:25 pm

  4. Lyn, from what I’ve seen most of the comments on YouTube are irrelevant to the video. I suspect there’s a lot of hand-waving going on, which is sort of what you’re suggesting.
    I was being a little sarcastic in this piece – I don’t think any politician in Australia really has much to boast about when it comes to engaging with new media – and I’ve been trying to convince them to be better at it for the last 8 years!

    Comment by Graham Young — July 19, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

  5. The person who invents a good sarcasm warning will deserve far more credit than they’ll probably get.
    I agree Australian politicians aren’t much good at new media, with the notable exception of Andrew Bartlett (and even his MySpace leaves a bit to be desired), but it’s hard to imagine what else they could do.
    Thinking more about the MySpace experiment than the YouTube one, they could make a good start by employing a few younger people who know the territory, and that goes for both sides. My 19 year old daughter has been waiting for Peter Garrett to add her as a friend for a week now, with no luck. She was disillusioned after a couple of days, now she’s quite shirty. He could do a lot worse than offer her a job.
    It’s interesting, and disturbing, that so few of them even noticed what was happening, let alone working out how to deal with it. Generational change will be interesting to watch.

    Comment by Lyn — July 20, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

  6. Lyn, is this what politics has come down to – Dancing with the Stars on YouTube or MySpace? They ought to give Howard, and Bartlett, and Tanner (did you see how boring and amateur his video was) a go.
    I reckon if any of them did a record breaking YouTube video they either faked it (paying lots of money to lots of consultants) or they shouldn’t be running the country.
    The sort of person who would do a really great YouTube video is Michael Jackson, or Kylie Minogue. Fancy either of those running the show?

    Comment by Graham Young — July 20, 2007 @ 11:22 pm

  7. True that. They have to balance governmental dignity with the equivalent of a three ring circus.
    Still, I give them credit for trying.
    I don’t know about any of the others, but I can imagine Hockey doing a duet with Kylie Minogue.

    Comment by Lyn — July 21, 2007 @ 11:00 am

  8. Graham:
    First, congrats on Crikey Blog-O-Meter rating, “the fairest one of all”.
    2nd: The mystery ( = what position did KR play in Rugby, all you need to know about a man) we we discussing late January has been solved: he played second row. There ya go, a team player position if there ever was one, all guts and no glory. He oughta start wearing one of these.
    3rd: From same sequence, maybe we were onto something back then about relations between the Brothers Rudd, as last week’s events flesh out.
    4th: the matter at hand, JHo’s youtube flutter.
    I don’t think the 14k of visits is terribly significant, not when you consider KR has signed up 8k of declared friends, which is a lot more of an intentional act than a mere visit.
    It would be good to have a metric for # who actually listened to vid the way thru, as opposed to a dropped in to give the site a quick trashing, (or re-trashing as purge-orama events showed was necessary) which is what the overwhelming majority seems to have done.
    Again that 14k figure must be discounted for multiple visits by the same persons, clearly a favourite thing to do for a surprising number of ppl, to argue the case with the JHo ( paid? says the rumour) fanboys, who were conspicuously amateur rentacrowd.
    The most significant thing about the entire JHo 2.0 fiasco was the multiple purges of comments by the admins, something deeply anathema to the 2.0 spirit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m with you in being agin and aghast at the puerility of much of it, ( and the spelling!!!).
    Either you’re smart and committed enough to resource moderating before posts go up, ( which is presumably kev’s myspace MO, no signs of major trashing) or you go for the big win, (or in the JHo case lose), and take free eDemocracy on the chin.
    How Sid Marris got away with a headline ” PM’s YouTube foray a hit” shows just how ignorant the MSM media are of the ways of the wwwworld 2.0.
    One of them even had a go at Kev, suggesting K’s nomination of Simon and Garf, and John Denver as fav music would backfire for him, that the younguns would see him as orthorhomboid.
    This supposedly savvy journo/ette, obviously a stranger itself to the 2.0 medium, didn’t realise just how onto it Kev is when he says it’s about keeping it real. The kids have more affection and respect for a square that actually does have music they like and are honest enough to say what it is.
    I’ll get out of your way now

    Comment by frederick pottinger — July 22, 2007 @ 1:19 pm

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    Comment by Espn — October 8, 2011 @ 9:51 am

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