Congressional Candidates’ Use of YouTube in 2008: Its Frequency and Rationale

Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 93-109, 2010

18 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2010 Last revised: 10 Apr 2011

Date Written: July 1, 2010

Abstract

This study investigates the extent of Congressional candidates’ use of YouTube in 2008 and analyzes which candidates were more likely to adopt and use this tool. While 72 percent of the major party candidates for the Senate opened YouTube channels, only 28 percent of candidates for the House seats did so. A multivariate analysis of all major-party candidates for the House shows that better-financed candidates and those in competitive elections were more likely to become early adopters by opening a YouTube channel; open seat candidates were less likely than incumbents to open a channel. A multivariate analysis of how extensively candidates used YouTube revealed that incumbents and better-financed candidates posted more videos to their channels. Candidates from districts with a higher percentage of college graduates also were more likely to post videos. 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. Separating adoption from implementation leads to some more nuanced and conceptually important interpretations of the findings in this and earlier studies, and underscores the need to attend to life cycle and technology specific attributes of new media in campaigns.

Keywords: Congressional elections, diffusion of technology innovation, online campaigns, social networks, video sharing

Suggested Citation

Gulati, Girish and Williams, Christine B., Congressional Candidates’ Use of YouTube in 2008: Its Frequency and Rationale (July 1, 2010). Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 93-109, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1633575

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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