Trashing an opponent works best on TV / you preach to the converted on the Internet

A piece of research from the Brookings Institution (thanks @kenyanpundit for the link) finds that, at least in politics, when it comes to gee-ing up supporters, online video works best.  However, if you are going to trash someone, stick with TV.

Though all eyes are currently on the US Presidential election, the Brookings Institution carried out its study in 12 countries worldwide.

The Brookings Institution found that anyone likely to watch a political video on YouTube was younger, richer, more educated, more likely to be interested in politics – and more partisan.   In other words, you don’t trawl the world’s largest online video site to help inform your point of view.  You look through it to find political content that already confirms it.

The other factor, is that you can run political ads on YouTube for free, meaning lengthy missives to supporters that would cost you a fair amount of money on TV have a home there.

TV is different.  You are more likely to find wavering voters, and ones less interested in politics on telly.  And it costs money, so you need to make it count.  As a result, though 22% of YouTube ads involved a character attack on an opponent, for TV that figure jumped to 38%

The Internet – an organisational tool

Both in the US and UK there has been a certain amount of “see, I told you so!” type reactions to findings that TV not the Internet informs public opinion when it comes to politics  

In fact, the Brookings Institution findings point to a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Internet is good for in political campaigns:

“The internet is not mainly a tool for politicians to communicate directly with voters, even though voters are free to peruse campaign websites if they wish. Instead..the internet serves as a tool for campaigns to inform other members of the broad political elite, including journalists, commentators, activists, and opinion leaders.”

More to the point, it serves as a place where you can recruit volunteers, raise cash, and disseminate campaign material.   Your campaign website or Twitter account will by and large not change minds.  The TV debates still serve that purpose.

Men more engaged with online video

At the same time, a separate Comscore study in the UK shows that unlike the social media arena as a whole, online video is an area dominated by men.  Men are far more engaged with both content videos, as well as ad videos.

Top image – boutmuet

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