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Washington DC sets up shop...on YouTube!

Updated on January 12, 2009

The Senate's Brand New YouTube "Hub"

Pick a state and watch senate & house members' YouTube videos, a new way for elected officials to communicate directly with the public.
Pick a state and watch senate & house members' YouTube videos, a new way for elected officials to communicate directly with the public.

How the U.S. Congress spent last weekend...they posted this video announcing their new YouTube channels!

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, USA

Senator Sam Brownback from Kansas, USA

Congress goes "on the air" online

Even though yesterday was a Sunday, the United States Congress spent time on that day (January 11th, 2009) in an unusual weekend session.

They announced something very, very new, especially for traditional US government officials:

Both the Senate and House have EACH opened up their own online hubs on YouTube!

Specifically, these new YouTube hubs are for America's leaders to speak directly to the nation.

Each of the House and Senate hubs on YouTube has a simple interface (pictured, top) to select the State, then choose the senator or congressperson whose video you want to watch. That's it.

They're already up and online right now. Each hub is not only packed with SHORT videos from elected official, but they are also complete with valuable links and behind-the-scenes videos, just for fun. Try'em out:

US Senate: www.YouTube.com/SenateHub

US House of Representatives: www.YouTube.com/HouseHub

Although the United States Congress consists of 433 congressmen serving in the House of Representatives and 50 senators in the United States Senate, a number of its members already have been making YouTube videos for quite a while already, some have been posting on YouTube for years.

But this is the very first time the process has been integrated as an official part of the government's communication process, and I commend them for this forward-thinking and interactive idea.

This is NOT what older Americans have come to expect from their government, but is certainly IS just what the doctor ordered in these high-tech, high-touch, interactive times. These direct-to-you videos will make Americans feel closer to the people they sent to Washington to represent them.

So, on this page is a link to the United States Congress' very first introductory YouTube video, and it's not what you'd expect from the government in TWO unique ways:

1. It's SHORT! Just under two minutes, and for anything from the traditional government, that's quite unbelievable.

Further, this quick video is professionally produced and edited, and narrated by FOUR leaders of the house and senate, two from each party: Democratic Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid, Democratic Speaker of the House Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Republican House Leader Congressman John Boehner, and Republican Leader Senator Mitch McConnell.

2. It's NOT BORING! These are not your typical political speeches. The introductory video says "hi" to YouTube watchers everywhere, and introduces a few of the country's leaders in both the Democratic and Republican parties.

What do they want? Just your eyes and ears for a moment. Our government officials are creating a new level of transparency by communicating directly to the American public at large, "as more Americans embrace video sharing and social media."

An entire transcript of the congress' first video appears below, so you can see how, um, casual, friendly and down-to-earth they are genuinely trying to be.

Besides the overall "hello" video from congressional leaders at the top of this page, I've also posted two individual videos as well, one from Senator Lamar Alexander (and former presidential candidate) of Tennessee, and another video from Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas.

Although these videos are currently introductory in nature, you know they will ALL want to use their videos to speak directly to the American citizenry on whatever issues are hot and happening.

In fact, this is a perfect forum for elected officials to "get the word out", in their own words, unfiltered by the mainstream media, anytime they want, for as long as they want.

But it's clear they all have gotten the message loud and clear: that longer messages make people tune out, because, so far, all the videos are mercifully SHORT and personality-driven.

Enjoy meeting the people who represent the American people in the congress of the United States!

Tom Z (Tom Zarecki)

TRANSCRIPT of Congress' 1st YouTube video

Here's a complete transcript of the opening video posted by leaders of the House and Senate over the weekend:

[music begins, while Google Earth's digital animation shows a view of North America, then zooming down to the familiar grid map of Washington, DC, then zooming again right down to the Unites States Capitol Building where both the House and Senate meet. Music continues, then fades for talkovers]:

[Harry Reid]: "Helloooo, YouTube!"

[Nancy Pelosi]: "Hello, i'm Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi."

[John Boehner]: "I'm John Boehner, the Republican leader in the House."

[Harry Reid]: "Hi, I'm Senator Harry Reid, I'm the majority leader of the United States Senate."

[Mitch McConnell]: "Hello, I'm Mitch McConnell, Republican leader of the United States Senate."

[Pelosi]: "While we may not see eye to eye on eveyrting, on thing we can agree on one thing is the importance to utilizing technology to communicate with constituents."

[Reid]: "And today we're all excited, and elated to announce that we're coming to YouTube."

[Boehner]: "Some of us have been posting original video content there for years now. YouTube and other new media tools let us provide you with a level of access and transparency that has never been seen before in government.

[Pelosi]: "As more of our collegauges embrace video sharing and social media, we're happy to introduce a new destination of the web for citizens eager to find out more about congress."

[Boehner]: "Go to YouTube.com/HouseHub."

[text on screen]: "or..."

[McConnel]: "Go to YouTube.com/SenateHub, and you'll find a central location for original content by individual members of congress."

[Reid]: "We want to make your government more transparent and accessable and hear what you think about the work we're doing here in the nation's capitol."

[McConnell]: "Now it's easier than ever to follow what's goin' on in Washington, and to voice an opinion about it."

[Boehner]: "I hope you'll also take some time to share videos and comments with us. I look forward to seeing all of you on YouTube.

[McConnell]: "Hope to see you there."

[Reid]: "See ya on YouTube."

[Pelosi]: "Thank you."

Tom Z (Tom Zarecki)

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