Calif. adopts YouTube services

California recently launched the state's official video channel on The state Consumer Services Agency said the project would be 'cost-neutral,' implemented without additional funds. The state's E-Services Office will maintain the site, officials said.

California worked with Google to map many of the state's video playlists on the site. The state's YouTube content ranges from state employee-created media campaigns, such as the Franchise Tax Board's 'Ready Return,' to the Department of Motor Vehicles' video montage of the Golden State's scenic driving routes.

'Technology is fast becoming our most valuable resource we have to make government accessible to Californians,' said Rosario Marin, secretary of state and Consumer Services Agency director. 'Through this channel, the state not only can showcase its tech-savvy talents, it can literally show Californians what exciting things their government is achieving.'

Although an early frontrunner, California is not the only state or government agency use YouTube.

The Commonwealth of Virginia, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Marin County, Calif., all have used the online multimedia service. The Old Dominion joined in October; the federal drug control agency joined in September 2006 and Marin County signed up in March.

CityTV Santa Barbara, a government access channel, joined YouTube in November 2007. Arlington County, Va., started its multimedia content alongside countless consumer video clips earlier this month.

"California's new online video channel is a great way for state agencies to highlight important programs so that our citizens have more opportunities to learn about and take advantage of public services provided by the state," said Teri Takai, California's chief information officer.

YouTube has rapidly become a promotional and information dissemination tool for candidates in the 2008 presidential race, most notably Barack Obama. CNN has posted the presidential debates on YouTube and the site created separate channels for politicians and the presidential race.

State universities' student governments also started conducting their presidential debates on YouTube this year, according to Ohio State University's The Lantern newspaper.

California's other uses include Kids Corner, a Web site with family-friendly state government information, child-appropriate activities and an enhanced search engine for the state's Web portal.

California also has launched a 24-hour online appointment request tool to file complaints of employment and housing discrimination with the Fair Employment and Housing Department.

During the 2007 Southern California wildfires, the state launched an online service at to provide survival information and help residents and communities recover.

California's YouTube channel is available here.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.


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