Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ron Paul and YouTube

There's been a lot written about the Ron Paul phenomenon. One thing I will have to do at some point is just talk about what I like about Ron Paul. I've been very apolitical this year though, so that will have to wait. One very interesting thing about Ron Paul though is his influence on YouTube.

My friend Chris wrote an interesting program to calculate the "influence" of political candidates via YouTube. Most of the major candidates have accounts (ok so it's surely their staffers, but whatever) on YouTube, and you can be their "friend." Chris looked at each candidate's friends and at what YouTube videos they had marked as favorites. He looked at the common favorites among friends of candidates. Here's a chart showing this data for Barack Obama:

The big red bar is the most common favorite among friends of Barack Obama. Why did I pick Obama here? Well he is the most popular candidate on YouTube (and on Facebook) as measured by how many friends he has. Anyways, back to the red bar. The most popular video among his Obama's friends is a favorite of 12 of his friends. #2 on the list is a favorite of 8 of his friends. Now let's take a look at the same chart for Ron Paul.

The #1 video among Ron Paul is a favorite of 34 friends, while #2 is a favorite of 17 friends. The video in question is a video of Ron Paul speaking at Google.

I guess none of this should come as a surprise. Ron Paul supporters are ... very passionate about Paul. It's that passion that infuriates many people. He is very much a fringe candidate right now, but the passion of his supporters may well push Paul into the mainstream. Is YouTube a place for that to happen? Probably not, but it's a start. To do my part, here's the video in question. Enjoy.

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