The Scream Heard Around the Internet

Is it possible for one harmless incident to cost someone a job? Or completely end someone’s career? Or even take them out of the running for a political position? Social media within corporations or politics allows information to spread like wildfire, which is sometimes helpful and makes campaigning easier less expensive, more sustainable and all around more effective.  In Howard Dean’s case however while running for the Democratic candidate one noise (it wasn’t even a word) may have cost him the presidency:

Here is the original clip of Howard Dean during his Rally:

Here’s one of many mixes and edits to his rally.  This example is an edited version of the rally with political candidate Dean Howard’s “Byahh” with a techno beat.

Here is a spinoff that Comedian Dave Chappell did on one of his episodes which appeared on comedy central.  It later had hundreds of spinoffs and clips from it on Youtube spreading like wildfire.

Now here’s an example of when the satire even gets poked fun at and with almost 400,000 views on Youtube many people know Dean Howard for the one instance where he said “BYAHHHH”

After seeing these examples, it is truly possible for ones reputation to be tarnished by only one action thanks to the viral ability of social media websites combined with youtube.  Would this have been the case 20 years ago? Even 5 years ago I don’t see one little harmless action like this having such a detrimental effect making one wonder if social media is really entirely good for politics?

 -Ari Nateman

7 thoughts on “The Scream Heard Around the Internet

  1. In my Political Communication class we analyzed this clip, as well. It seems that now-a-days our celebrities and politicians are under a 24/7 surveillance, where everything they do is recorded. One slip up and it goes viral in a matter of minutes. What interesting to note about this clip is that the people who were in attendance at that rally didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Because they were in the moment and feeling the energy, Howard Dean’s scream seemed completely normal. It was only to us watching on television that though it was strange.
    No amount of IMC could have caved Howard Dean’s campaign after that speech. He dug himself in a hole he was never capable of crawling out of. However, I don’t think the new age of media is detrimental to politics. Sure, we need to make a lot of changes in how we are viewed in public, but I think it’s more good than bad that our politicians need to be on their toes more. We vote these people in based on what we know about them. If they are hiding information about them, it’d be bad to wait until they are already in office where they can make decisions that are so important to other people. The new age is making politicians open up about their secrets and be more careful about what they do in public. We should embrace technology, and not fight it.

  2. It is true that technology has become such a huge part of daily life. It permeates into how we interact, what we do and when we do it. This is even truer for those in the public eye, such as celebrities and politicians. Society loves to build these individuals up and then break them down again, and with the help of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter we are able to do it at unprecedented speed! We are now only clicks away from seeing Howard Dean freak out on the campaign trail, from watching Kobe’s public dilemma of saving his marriage, the up’s and down’s of Tiger Woods’ deteriorating marriage…and now we can voice our own opinions in a very public sector.

    The potential and power of social media sites seems endless, and as the previous commenter stated, it forces those in the public eye to be increasingly careful of what they are doing and how they are handling their own image. The phenomenon is still relatively new and yet has exuded so much presence on society it is impossible to step back and take it away. We all must deal with progressive innovation, some (like elected officials, sports stars or celebrities) more then others.

  3. This would only happen now. The use of social media especially in politics is huge. Political figures need to watch what they do and say all the time. Which in a perfect world means that they should be real all the time, but we all know that will never happen. The use of social media can have many good impacts on politicians and politics themselves, but social media and badd press gone wrong can easily demolish a person’s credibility and career.

  4. This is an issue we have today that I do not believe was as advanced 20 years ago. The issue I am referring to is the way stories and bad situations like this can be spread across the world in a matter of minutes, thanks to the internet. Another issue with people (politicians) and their actions, is that the media is going to pick apart every word the person says, or every noise they make. Then, to add insult to injury, they edit the clip ruthlessly to make it as painful for the person, as possible. This increases the “funny factor” for comedians and the audiences who watch them.

  5. I think this is an excellent example of how much impact the Internet has on who we are and what we are involved in. I understand that it has the ability to tarnish someone’s reputation, but I also realize that there are times where it sheds light on a subject and can actually cause an improvement in someone’s life.

    This brings me to the “Bed Intruder” video that has recently went viral. The video has received a ton of publicity and has even caught a lot of flack about how it made light of a serious incident, a woman who could have potentially been raped. However, the video and now song has become so popular, that the proceeds from itunes and other merchandise has allowed the people involved to move out of the “projects” and into a safer neighborhood.

    In this instance, the Internet has allowed them to better their circumstances and has potentially given them a chance at a better life.

  6. The influence that the internet, especially websites such as YouTube, has on political figures and other important people in the public eye is almost excruciating. I find it somewhat frustrating that something as small as this excited yell from Howard Dean during a campaign in which he was obviously very exhilarated has become one of the only things we associate with his campaign, simply because it became a viral video. I feel that it is very important for figures in the public eye to be extremely careful in terms of what they do and how they present themselves, but I feel like something such as simply being excited about his campaign gives someone like Howard Dean a tarnished reputation. I think that the internet is central in communicating with the public in terms of being a political figure, but can also be central in blemishing someone’s reputation with the click of a button.

  7. Social Media is a very influential source that has the ability to make or break a person’s career. While in the past political campaigns were based off very scripted and rehearsed speeches from canidates who had more or less power to control how they were viewed, social media has completed changed the hierachy of who is controlling the campaign. More often television campaign commericals focus on the flaws of one canidate with a closing comment that the opposing candidate “supports this message”. Gossip magazines, The Daily Show, YouTube videos all place the power in the consumers hand to mold and present information in a way they chose. Just as you’ve demonstrated here, one man’s excitement can be mass-marketed to become a viral mocking obsession viewed by millions.

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