The Republican National Convention will organize its digital presence around its YouTube page, rather than its website, an unconventional move that reflects the central place of social platforms — Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, primarily — in American politics.
The convention's communications director, James Davis, told BuzzFeed the RNC is about to roll out a customized YouTube page that will carry both the convention livestream and key videos, but will also have space for the Twitter conversation around the convention and for social metrics indicating what people are talking about.
"The website will have basic information but this is going to be the focal point for online activity," Davis said. "Why take someone to a website that has stale information on it when you can take them to a dynamic and informative and engaging experience?"
"Everything is going to point to the YouTube page during the convention," he said of the plan, under the rubric "Convention Without Walls."
The RNC's plan reflects a broader shift in the web toward social platforms like Twitter — which captured the conversation that had taken place on political blogs in earlier cycles — and Facebook, which has a far larger general audience.
Google, which owns YouTube, is a partner with the RNC and has also built the infrastructure for a digital center. (Google, whose Google + has failed to emerge a as major social space, is the convention's "Official Social Platform.") The center will include a "conversation room" for members of Congress and other top Republicans to host Google Hangouts or participate in Twitter, Facebook, or Skype conversations with constituents, according to a press release from the convention committee.
The committee, Davis said, will also release a mobile app soon that, along with including local information for Tampa visitors, will allow people who aren't there to plug into the political conversation.
"We will also have the social conversation embedded in the app," Davis said.