• 07/24/2007
    2:07 PM
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YouTube's Reign of Terror

The next leader of the free world may have stood on stage at The Citadel last night, but the real power in the room was YouTube....

Is YouTube's power good for democracy? Certainly I'm glad that the politicians haven't figured out how to game this system. Video-sharing platforms have become a vital forum for discussion and dissent. They give a much-needed voice to voters. And in last night's debate, the gimmicky questions sometimes forced the participants to abandon boilerplate responses.

But in the long run I'm also afraid YouTube will compel candidates to become more guarded, to cling more desperately to scripted speeches and focus-group-tested talking points. As the pressure of constant surveillance mounts, as candidates live in fear of a "Gotcha!" moment, we the voters will have less opportunity rather than more to understand what candidates actually believe.

Maybe it's not just candidates who need to be afraid.

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