02 October 2007

The YouTube Challenge and Recent Dormancy

Hello Peace Bloggers!

I must apologize for the recent dormancy of the OMBFP project. I admit that I have been a little disheartened by the turnout for the YouTube Challenge. In the first 34 days of the challenge, I received 3 submissions, none of which met the criteria laid out for the competition. Two were music videos from early summer and one was a Panasonic commercial.

With less than 2 weeks to go, I did receive this video:
Which I guess wins by default, though I'm still not entirely sure of the message that it sends. I can gather from the context of the people submitting it that it's supposed to be anti-war, but the line "there's a war and we're in it and I know we can win it" backdropping images of troops fighting in Iraq sends a somewhat dubious message.

While I initially took the low turnout as a sign of disinterest in the project and OMBFP generally, I think it's more my fault. This challenge just doesn't seem to resonate with the OMBFP community... some people wrote to object to having challenges set up as competitions at all. So I find myself at a bit of a crossroads in having to re-evaluate the types of events, virtual rallies, or "competitions" that we are going to have here at all.

Finally, I think I've experienced some of the fatigue that can easily plague the peace movement at a time where nearly everyone in the United States who could be considered a "leader" is either defending the war or giving lip-service to being anti-war while planning to maintain the war for years to come. Where is our Eugene McCarthy? During Vietnam in 1968, Eugene McCarthy (running almost exclusively on an anti-war platform) took 42% of the New Hampshire primary vote against incumbent LBJ, leading directly to both RFK entering the race and LBJ withdrawing. Today, we have candidates who claim to be looking for a way out of Iraq, but say troops will likely stay there till 2013. It's hard to get excited when Dennis Kucinich, a third-party candidate, or a non-violent coup look like the only legitimate hopes we have.

For now, I will continue to try to come up with projects that match up to what you, the OMBFP community, are looking for. And of course continue to register new blogs and fill up our numbers. As always, I am open to suggestions!



At 03 October, 2007 08:12 , Red Valley said...

I can't speak for other people, but the reason I didn't participate is because I literally couldn't. I'm fairly poor, and don't own a web-cam, a camcorder, or anything like that that would surely be necessary to upload a meaningful video to YouTube. Plus, I doubt a video by me would be any good anyway. I don't have the sort of footage of things like marches or the war itself on hand that would make for a better presentation or know how to splice footage together or any camera tricks like that. I know that may seem hypocritical, given that I was the one who made the first suggestion on how to manage this challenge, but I did that mainly out of wanting to make some sort of a contribution to it, as I knew I couldn't actually participate. I figured that out of 800 or 850 people/organizations registered, however, that somebody surely would be able to participate. But I was also, frankly, a little turned off by the idea that any video had to have a one-track message. I'm all for peace and everything, but let's not disconnect it from every other issue to which it's related (which is all of them, really). Doing that seems to make for a lower-impact message to me.

And I don't think anybody deserves to win anything. That video you posted still didn't meet the most basic criteria: featuring an OMBFP reference somewhere in it. At least not that I saw.

I don't think the low turnout was your fault. I thought it was a good idea that should have done better. But I also don't think it means that fewer people are interested in peace. I think what it means is that a strong majority of the OMBFP community doesn't check this board or have the sort of equipment needed to post a video on YouTube, and perhaps has the OMBFP e-mail announcements relegated to Junk Mail status.

It remains my opinion that these Virtual Rallies (the one's that don't require equipment, anyway) should be compulsory. If they were, our older Rallies would have been successful, and we might now have 10 times the membership we currently do. But it may be too late for that now. What disappoints me is that, more than halfway through this project, we still have reached less than 0.1% of our goal. 1 million registered blogs, at this point, appears an unrealistic goal, from my vantage point. Or even 100,000. Or even 50,000. More plausible at this point would be perhaps in the range of 5,000 to 10,000 registered blogs by the war's next anniversary: 1% of the stated goal. The trouble is that I think it's mostly just ourselves and friends and family that know about this project. We need to get our message out to the wider world, and thus far, we haven't succeeded in doing that. That's what's going to make this project reasonably a success. Just my thoughts and ramblings.


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