I was surprised to read that a few days ago, the news of Swedish crown princess Victoria's engagement to entrepreneur Daniel Westling was broadcast over YouTube by the Royal Family.
I've already blogged about the Obama campaign's level of sophistication with social media tools and our ability to watch Obama's weekly address on YouTube, but after reading about the Swedish Royal Family, I decided to take a look at the Brits. Sure enough, they have their own YouTube channel, The Royal Channel.
The channel has 26,409 subscribers today and more than two million views. It was started in October 2007. Talk about being ahead of the game! The British monarchy has long been the center of gossip and tabloids in the UK, but to actually launch their own channel is really quite open and progressive. You can check out royal visits to various schools, interviews with different royal family members and historic looks at the nation's treasures.
By contrast, the White House YouTube channel seems to verge on a new form of propaganda as it's almost 100% focused on matters of state, with a presidential spin. It's drier. For example, I was surprised this week's Stevie Wonder concert at the White House wasn't available through the White House channel. I guess the fundamental difference in public image as conveyed "officially" through YouTube might hinge on the fact that the British Royal Family is more often the subject of celebrity gossip rather than governance.
In a recent interview, Macon Phillips, the White House's new media director and the man behind WhiteHouse.gov, admitted he has spent more time managing the daily flow of news from the White House during a challenging economic environment than considering the big picture of how to build the administration's new media message since Obama's inauguration on January 20.
Still, the Obama administration's emphasis on interactivity and transparency is much more advanced than what we would have seen from the competition. Speaking of interactivity, here's this week's address from President Obama: