And another thing...

WHITE HOUSE ON DRUGS. The White House is trying to take its anti-drug message to the people via the Web site YouTube.com. Users who search for videos with terms such as 'marijuana,' 'weed' or '420' (apparently a popular reference for marijuana) get public service announcements, anti-drug advertisements and other videos among the results. The postings, which cost the government nothing, are being
handled by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. If nothing else, the anti-drug messages should stand out for their production values on YouTube, which is known for the homegrown quality of the videos. And because some of those videos reportedly depict drug use, they might find the right audience. The White House isn't the only wing of government taking advantage of new channels of Internet communication. At least one senator, Ted Kennedy, recently posted a video on YouTube voicing his support for Net neutrality. Some members of Congress also now post blogs on their home pages. And Logging Off last month reported on the Air Force's MySpace page (GCN.com/668). Individually, each reaches a small audience, but they are reflective of a larger trend. The idea of centralized, one-voice, one-way communication, like Big Brother, was common in science fiction for quite a while, but never really came about, except maybe in the form of North Korea's Dear Leader. But these days, everybody has a stage and, seemingly, their own channel. So, anyone with a message had better spread the field.

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