President-Elect Barack Obama has pledged to deliver weekly "fireside chats" a la FDR via YouTube, and today he posted his first. The content of the video isn't unexpected: he calls for immediate help from Congress to aid unemployment insurance, and calls for all Americans to come together to weather the hard economic road ahead. What's remarkable is how right it feels. We mostly use YouTube for clips of things like a cappella renditions of John Williams songs, but this address is helped by the familiarity of YouTube: it treads the line between casual and formal without ever becoming either. Yeah, we're a bunch of durn lib'rals here at Giz, but this is an important milestone in how we interact with our elected leader, and Obama made his weekly debut in the right way. There was no mention of the medium, nothing garish like, say, a holographic Will.I.Am.. YouTube is simply the easiest, most widespread, and most accessible way to directly address the people, and that's why it doesn't feel forced or stilted. Well, that and the way I just get lost in the music of his voice. [Change.gov]
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