President Barack Obama will be participating in a first-of-its-kind online video event today, answering questions via YouTube’s CitizenTube channel. The event, which begins at 1:45 p.m. EST/10:45 a.m. PST, is a followup to last week’s State of the Union address, and will open up the floor to video and text questions on a number of topics from ordinary citizens using YouTube.
YouTube announced the live video chat last week, asking users to send in questions on the economy, health care, foreign policy and other subjects that could then be voted on before being posed to the President. So far, CitizenTube has received more than 11,500 questions, and more than 600,000 votes on those questions. According to a YouTube blog entry today, neither the President nor his staff will know ahead of time which questions will be asked.
The YouTube chat is part of an ongoing effort by the Obama administration to use online video to get its message across. Obama’s inauguration drew millions of viewers online, and the president has streamed key addresses online, including the news conference following his first 100 days in office. Last week’s State of the Union drew 48 million TV viewers, according to Nielsen, and 1.3 million viewers online to the official White House live video stream.