Obama takes fireside chats digital, viral

After posting more than 1,800 videos to YouTube during his campaign, president-elect Barack Obama will post weekly “fireside chats” to YouTube, TechCruch reports.

According to Wikipedia, the original fireside chats were a series of thirty evening radio speeches given by president Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1944. Obama hopes to re-purpose this once-popular communication to reach the digital generation.

Much has been said about Obama’s success using social media to excite voters, but the president-elect has some work ahead to maintain the enthusiasm he earned from Americans during his campaign.

Of interest is Obama’s use of YouTube. Obama doesn’t need YouTube to host these videos because he will also host the videos on change.gov. His choosing a primarily amateur social media site to additionally host the presidential communications validates the use of YouTube as a mainstream communication channel and levels Obama to the common Americans who also post to and visit YouTube. YouTube also helps Obama leverage social media — change.gov doesn’t offer the interactivity of YouTube. By allowing people to comment on and repost the videos from YouTube, he’ll likely increase the visibility and impact of the digital fireside chats.

We still have yet to determine how much Obama’s successful social media campaign contributed to his campaign, but Obama is keeping to his winning formula and already rolling out social media in his transition to the presidency. These digital, viral fireside chats are just the start.