Ines Mergel, an assistant professor of public administration at Maxwell School of Syracuse University, said politicians like the ability to provide quick feedback and responses on issues without waiting for a TV crew. And Mergel, who has studied the use of YouTube in Congress, said it also gives politicians a chance to show another, behind the scenes, side of themselves.
But Mergel said online video hasn't replaced the need for politicians to work with traditional media.
"For them, it's adding additional channels and populating everything that they can," she said. "It's just an additional channel on top of everything else.
In North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, recently hired a director of new media who will oversee YouTube videos.
"We're all beginning to have a new realization of how connected people are," said Chrissy Pearson, Perdue's communications director.
In Indiana, a staffer with a $200 Flip camera broadcast video last year from a trade trip Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels made to China. His spokeswoman, Jane Jankowski, said her office uses YouTube to broadcast events the news media aren't interested in covering and it also is able to show different sides of the governor. Democratic Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski posted videos on YouTube in his last re-election campaign in 2006. But his spokeswoman Anna Richter Taylor said his official office doesn't have the resources to post videos online.