Congressional Candidates' Use of Youtube in 2008: Its Frequency and Rationale

Posted: 4 Jul 2009

Date Written: May 14, 2009

Abstract

This study investigates the extent of candidates' use of the video sharing YouTube site in 2008, and analyzes which Congressional candidates were more likely to use this tool. A large majority of the major party candidates for the Senate opened YouTube channels as did a much smaller proportion of those running for House seats in 2008. This is about double the percentages of House and Senate candidates who made use of profiles on the social network Facebook site when these emerged as campaign vehicles in 2006. For House candidates, campaign fundraising is the only strategic resource that differentiates both having a YouTube channel and the number of videos posted to it. In addition to better financed candidates, those in competitive elections also were more likely to open channels. Incumbents joined better financed candidates in posting more videos to their channels. Percentage minority is the only constituency attribute related to YouTube use, and is significant only for the level of activity. YouTube is best understood as a vehicle for disseminating campaign communications produced by or for traditional media, especially television, and not so much as a new technology tool.

Keywords: elections, Congress, YouTube, social networks, campaign ads

Suggested Citation

Gulati, Girish and Williams, Christine B., Congressional Candidates' Use of Youtube in 2008: Its Frequency and Rationale (May 14, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1429603

Girish Gulati (Contact Author)

Bentley University ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02145
United States

Christine B. Williams

Bentley University ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452
United States

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