The nearly 600,000 videos mentioning Obama and Romney that have been uploaded since April 2011 have received around 2 billion views, reports YouTube Trends’s Ramya Raghavan. The mashup of Barack Obama singing Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” (above) by YouTube user baracksdubs has received the most views: 24 million.
What does this news mean for the state of democracy? Should there be a Barack Obama-Carly Rae Jepsen 2012 ticket? Or should the singer just run for president in 2016 herself?
Neither will ever happen; YouTube Trends is just trying to show that the combination of Election 2012 and satire has become increasingly popular on the social network — and most of the political videos do not come from campaigns.
The article says that videos uploaded by presidential candidates since the beginning of the primaries have racked up more than 100 million views. That means only 5% of the total views of videos about presidential candidates is from official campaigns, tech and politics website TechPresident points out. “The political campaigns are swimming in a sea of user-generated content, even more so than in 2008,” TechPresident’s Micah L. Sifry writes.
YouTube Trends says that two user-generated political parodies from both sides of the aisle have far surpassed the 1 million view mark this month: a disenchanted Obama voter’s “Obama That I Used to Know,” a spoof of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and a Romney parody by a group called Wrong Direction.
Statistics about the demographics of YouTube users show that the right viral video could help the Obama and Romney campaigns reach out to voter groups that may determine the outcome of the upcoming election — young adults, women, Hispanics. According to the site, 59% of all Hispanics and 55% of all women ages 18-54 are on YouTube. Eighteen to 34 year olds make up the largest age group on the site, as well.
So it’s understandable that presidential campaigns want young voters to circulate their YouTube videos as much as they circulate cat videos, for example. Speaking of which, on August 24th, the Democratic National Convention organizers posted a special cat video for the event on its official website “Charlotte in 2012.” A corresponding blog post, “We Thought It Was Time to Release a Cat Video,” details all of the cat-themed attractions in the North Carolina city.
Obama For America’s most recent attack on Romney is actually a parody of a movie trailer. Published on August 26th, “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: The Do-Over” is complete with a fake green previews introduction (“Some Material May Be Hilarious and/or Infuriating”) and a fake rating “N” for “Not Gonna Work.”