Yesterday, YouTube celebrity and Politico.com pundit James Kotecki spoke to my digital rhetoric class about how he developed his Internet persona, cultivated his fan base, refined the process of composing his videos, and is now making plans for the future since his initial mission of giving candidates advice about how to use YouTube effectively has ended with the election.
The ex-eagle scout and congressional intern maintained his online clean cut image throughout the hour-and-a-half question-and-answer session with students via our campus's teleconference facility, but he also gave some candid commentary about the deletion of his Wikipedia entry, his encounter with Obama girl, and the liberal bias of the media. Reflecting on the election, he admitted that the CNN/YouTube debates proved to have less of an impact on persuading the electorate. However, he pointed out that three non-candidate independently produced online videos raised Obama's Internet profile significantly: "Vote Different," "I Got a Crush on Obama," and "Yes We Can."
Kotecki will be appearing at this Saturday's YouTube Live event, in which the online video-sharing service will try to behave more like a network broadcast outlet for content, although it will lack the luxury of the forms of digital post-production that are now available to both pros and amateurs.
Kotecki said that although YouTube's role in the election was often shaped by its position as the prime dissemination engine for recordings of "gotcha" moments that used ubiquitous communication technologies to capture candidates in unflattering public moments (and a montage of such clips will introduce his segment), the leveled production platform also has allowed citizens to have a greater role in the mediascape of the election process.
Eventually, the video of the class's questions and Kotecki's answers will be posted where else but on one of the university's YouTube channels.