German Government Launches YouTube Channel, Lets Citizens Interview Chancellor

By Megan O'Neill 

In recent years we’ve seen a rise in government on YouTube, from the United States to the UK, Israel and beyond.  More and more politicians are making their way onto YouTube, to open up a new channel of conversation with their constituents, and the latest to jump on this bandwagon is Germany.  Yesterday, the German federal government launched their new YouTube channel, Bundesregierung, and announced that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be answering citizens’ questions via YouTube next month.

According to Reuters, German government spokesman Georg Streiter said in a news conference that, “The German government is eager to expand its offering of information and Internet communications through contemporary methods.  If the media is heading in new directions, we’ve got to use these channels too to reach the public.”

Government spokesperson Steffen Seibert explained, in a YouTube video that hit the new channel yesterday, that the launch of the channel also signifies the launch of a YouTube interview project.  Citizens are invited to submit questions for Chancellor Angela Merkel until November 7.  The interview will take place on November 18.  If you speak German you can check out the video below.

Germany has been slow to jump on the social media bandwagon, with spokesperson Steffen Seibert only beginning to tweet about six months ago.  However, it looks like they are starting to realize the benefits and are moving forward.

In addition to the launch of the new YouTube channel, Cheri Macale of The Next Web reported that Facebook’s VP of communications and Public Relations, Elliot Schrage, is currently in Germany meeting with their leading IT association, Bitkom, to discuss data privacy and security.  Germany has a record of clashing with sites like Facebook and Google on privacy issues and perhaps this meeting signifies that German culture is ready to discuss ways to solve these issues so they can fully embrace the world of social media.

What’s your take on Germany’s foray into YouTube?  If you are a German citizen, will you be asking Chancellor Merkel a question on YouTube?

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.