Social Media: Entering the Global Cultural Mainstream

Obama during his Race Speech
U.S. Senator Obama gives his speech on Race (mentions YouTube)

When reading U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s speech on race this month, one particular line caught this marketer’s eye:

And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and YouTube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way. (Emphasis mine)

In Obama’s pivotal election year speech to the American people, Obama not only mention YouTube but does it in the same breath as television. We’ve come along way from when YouTube was just a way for Americans to see clips of shows like Saturday Night Live.

While Social Media is not the end all be all of media, the influence is wide ranging – from the U.S. 2008 elections to the TSA Blog/YouTube Channel to helping organizing mass street protests against FARC in Columbia.

See below for a run down…


  1. TSA does Blogging and YouTube
  2. Facebook helps organize millions of Columbians protests against FARC
  3. Churches live stream their services on Ustream.TV

United States Transportation Security Authority

TSA Agent Bob explains why the MacBookAir can cause issues in airports

One of the biggest questions major brands have is “If we start a blog and someone comments something nasty about us, what do we do?” Our response always has been “there will always be someone being negative, but the best thing to do is to address it and be open”.

One major “brand” that has taken the step on sticking its own neck out is the US Transportation Security Authority (TSA), a name many travelers in the US has made synonymous with frustration. Starting last month, the TSA has started their very own blog called “Evolution in Security” in their attempt to address travelers concerns and frustrations.

And what happens when a bad comment arise? Surprisingly, for the most part, most of the comments are left uncensored and brutal. And they also respond to blog postings about the TSA:

  1. Rumor Alert: Conflict of Interest at TSA?
    This blog post is a response to a blogger at PajamaMedia: “Blogger and pundit Annie Jacobsen published a piece titled, “Top TSA Officials in Cheating Scandal Also Ran Private Consulting Firm” on Saturday, March 15. This piece has been linked to from several blogs and other sites in the past day.”
  2. MacBook Air YouTube Response
    There’s been a story circulated by a blogger on how he was missed his flight because his MacBook Air arouse suspicion from TSA agents who didnt believe the MacBook Air was a real computer. TSA did a YouTube response explaining the situation.

Facebook and Mass Protests in Columbia and the World

Source: Paul White/The Associated Press from

As reported by IHT in February 2008:

Facebook has helped bring public protest to Colombia, a country with no real history of mass demonstrations.

A young Colombian engineer used the social networking site last week to organize a massive protest against the Revolutionary Armed Forces, known as FARC. On Feb. 4, millions of Colombians marched simultaneously in 27 cities throughout the country and 104 major cities around the world shouting “No more kidnappings! No more lies! No more deaths! No more FARC!”

The Churches are Steaming on the Internet

Churches on Ustream.TV

Beyond politics and government, Social Media is also possibly changing how many people worship. A quick look at the video streaming website Ustream shows over 150 churches using Ustream.TV delivering their Sunday services and sermons live on the Internet. Will the next Billy Graham, the famous TV evangelical preacher, come not from television but on some future version of YouTube? And yes, there is a service called GodTube.



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