Connected: the revolution will be streamed

Your chances of getting on TV and talking about who you are voting for will never be higher than in the current run-up to the general election as news programmes scramble to get the voice of everyday New Zealanders in their allotted 30-second slot allocated to politics.

CaptureBy Matthew O'Driscoll

But what if you want more than a share of a measly 30 seconds? What if you don’t like the slant TV One et al give? What if you are passionate about the change one party can make? Where do you turn to?

You turn to the same place that over a billion people a month turn to: YouTube. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults, aged 18-34, than any cable network. But YouTube isn’t just a US phenomenon, 80 percent of its traffic comes from outside the US. It’s in 61 countries and 61 languages.

People use YouTube in weird and wonderful ways, from simple direct-to-camera rants to more nuanced news-desk-style reporting.

Last year, the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases launched END7, a campaign to end seven diseases by 2020.

They used shock tactics on YouTube to get their message across, but with a twist. First, they created a video of the effects of elephantiasis, roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, trachoma, river blindness and snail fever.

Instead of airing this video directly to viewers they showed it to celebrities and filmed their reactions. Many of the celebrities couldn’t bear to watch the whole video.

The video was watched by 300,000 people and the campaign raised £60,000 on day one.

Dan Bull (douglby), a British geek rapper and vlogger, uses his Youtube channel to talk about important issues like free speech, digital rights, animal welfare, the environment, politics, and…video games.

His hip-hop helps to inform his 620,000 subscribers about the impact of cuts to public services, political corruption and the importance of having a say at election time. With almost 100 million views, his videos have captured a loyal audience and catapulted him in to mainstream media, and all because he spoke up.

A YouTube channel called Vote NO on Issue 2 was set up by a group of campaigners trying to stop a bill to reduce union workers’ bargaining rights in Ohio. The channel featured videos from Ohio residents speaking against the bill and what effect it would have on them and their communities.

Business-owners, nurses, emergency response workers, senators, and mums and dads were just some of the people posting videos on the site. The channel gained traction with supporters and the media and had more than 7.7 million viewers. This groundswell of support translated into real success as the bill was defeated come vote time.

Use your voice this election, react, speak up, sing out, but most importantly: vote.




YouTube – A video-sharing website owned by Google.

YouTube channel – traditionally, it was just the home page for a user’s account but now they are akin to TV channels complete with personalised branding and layout.

Nielsen – a leading global information and measurement company, provides market research, insights and data about what people watch, listen to & buy.

Dan Bull (douglby) – a British geek rapper and vlogger who raps about games, politics, the internet, and feelings.

END7 – a campaign to eradicate elephantiasis, roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, trachoma, river blindness and snail fever, backed by people like Bill and Melinda Gates.

Vlogger – a video blogger.

Vote NO on Issue 2 – a campaign against a bill to reduce union workers’ bargaining rights in Ohio.


This article is from the August 2014 issue of the PSA Journal. You can read back issues of the Journal by clicking here.