Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bang goes YouTube's image

The government has been reaching out to yoof by putting videos on YouTube. One is about ‘leadership’; the other extols the virtues of ‘Transformational Government’ – another name for the kind of thing we blogged below. So in other words, an attempt to sell widespread government data-sharing. According to Kablenet:

A Cabinet Office spokesperson told GC News on 22 August 2006 that it was an "unofficial" trial designed to test the potential of the site. ...The videos have been on the site for three months, in which the one on Transformational Government has attracted 790 viewers and that on leadership has pulled in 430.

There was only one comment on each, describing them as government propaganda. The spokesperson added that the Cabinet Office is ready to consider the possibilities for communicating through other channels.

We’re reminded of an Information Commissioner’s conference 3 years ago when ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett was trying to sell ID Cards. He agonised over the difficulties of communicating with young people. (Why, they’d even given them their own consultation paper which asked them what colour they’d like their ID card to be!) In desperation, one civil servant had composed an ID Card rap, which we were subjected to in its skin-crawlingly embarrassing dreadfulness.

A colleague from another children’s org suggested they could try just going to youth clubs and similar places, say ‘Hallo’ (NB not “Yo Dude” or “My Man”) and ask for people’s opinions. Obviously that was far too uncool a suggestion.

There's something distinctly creepy about the way Government tries to hard-sell young people its controversial projects by pretending to be one of them. It's rather like grooming. What they haven't clocked is that young people aren't daft, and can spot a suit in jeans a mile off.

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