Just Because You Can Put PSAs On YouTube, Doesn't Mean You Should

from the content-needs-to-be-engaging dept

A few weeks ago the UK government had some problems with their attempt to put up some videos on YouTube, and now it looks like the US gov’t is facing its own issues. Of course, the big issue seems to be that the content sucks. With great fanfare, it was announced yesterday that the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy was putting some anti-drug public service announcements on YouTube for anyone to watch. However, they seemed to forget the key issue here. YouTube has millions and millions of videos — and to stand out there, the videos actually have to be worth watching. So, it should come as no surprise that not many people are watching. They didn’t even bother to understand the value of YouTube, which is its participatory nature. It’s not just about putting up content, but putting up content that people like, that they want to pass around to others… and even that they want to interact with, creating responses, or edits or other additional content. Obviously, with anti-drug videos that can get a bit risky — but perhaps it would be good to encourage people to make derivative videos, even if they state something “off-policy.” Remember how much attention GM got when people started making fun of them in a “create your own ad” contest? It got a lot more attention to GM products. The same could be true with the anti-drug videos. Even if people turned them into pro-drug videos (as, of course, someone will), it would get people paying attention and discussing the issues.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Just Because You Can Put PSAs On YouTube, Doesn't Mean You Should”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Pissed Taxpayer says:


They’re paying some desk clerks to sit and upload these damn videos to YouTube… Wasting more of our tax money on a “war” that the government will never win without a complete police state. I’m talking about the war on drugs. The LARGEST waste of our tax monies in the entire history of this country. No other “program” has spent as much money as this “war”, not even all of the real wars that we’ve fought.

Here’s a recent news story followed by some more stuff to consider:
Article Link:

Police in the United States made a record number of arrests in 2005 according to the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report. The 786,545 people arrested for marijuana violations made up 42.6 percent of all drug arrests, and more arrests the total number for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, and rape, robbery and assault.

As you might expect, NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre has something to say about that:

“These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders,” said NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre, who noted that at current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 40 seconds in America. “This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that diverts law enforcement personnel away from focusing on serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism.”

This begs the question: How many of these people were using marijuana for medical reasons? St. Pierre also says marijuana arrests have doubled since 1990, while heroin and cocaine arrests have declined sharply.

St. Pierre concluded: “Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers between $10 billion and $12 billion annually and has led to the arrest of nearly 18 million Americans. Nevertheless, some 94 million Americans acknowledge having used marijuana during their lives. It makes no sense to continue to treat nearly half of all Americans as criminals for their use of a substance that poses no greater – and arguably far fewer – health risks than alcohol or tobacco. A better and more sensible solution would be to tax and regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.”


The United States has a larger percentage of its population in prison than any country on Earth. Over 1.7 million human beings languish behind bars. Well over sixty percent of federal prisoners , and a significant fraction of state and local prisoners, are non-violent drug offenders, mostly first time offenders. Due to the War on Drugs, we have become the world’s leading jailer. 1 out of 35 Americans is under the control of the Criminal Justice System. If present incarceration rates hold steady, 1 out of 20 Americans, 1 out of 11 men, and 1 out of 4 Black men in this country today can expect to spend some part of their life in prison.

For all that sacrifice, are we at least winning?

Even by the government’s own standards for success, the answer is unquestionably “no.” The illicit drug trade is estimated to be worth $50 billion today ($400 billion worldwide), up from $1 billion 25 years ago. Annual surveys of high school seniors show heroin and marijuana are as available today as they were in 1975. Deaths from drug overdoses have doubled in the last 20 years.

DJ says:


Ok…seriously….STFU! Fuck’n communist. Try supporting our government instead of bashing it. You don’t like how things are run then try changing them yourself. I bet you never get your fat ass to the voting booth to vote when it matters! I would rather see them use “OUR” money to fight the war they will never win then let them sit back and let it over take us. But I bet you have the same views with the terrorists that attack American citizens. Our fight terrorists is the same concept. It’s a war we will never win either but damn it, it makes it known to those groups that we aren’t going to sit back n let them do it. So to answer your rant about how our tax dollars are being misused STFU and act instead of talk.

Casual Observer says:


“…according to the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report. The 786,545 people arrested for marijuana violations made up 42.6 percent of all drug arrests…”

“…current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 40 seconds in America.”

I think even remedial math scholars can figure out that these numbers just don’t add up.

Look, I’m for legalizing, but someone may have just been on the pipe too long here.

JailhouseDOG says:

Jail is NOT a nice place.

are you sure languish is the right word? i hear jail is a nice place nowadays. all these people doing stupid crimes just to get back in.

You fail to see the reason they want back in. The actual prison invironment is NOT a pleasant place to be. Can you imagine sleeping next to a toilet for weeks, or months? Imagine being scared to walk alone ANYWHERE. Forced to group up with those you may not agree with, but you still do it because you almost have to group with your own race. Forced to fight those you don’t know or care about for fear of being abandoned by your protective group. Spending weeks in solitary confinement for the previous fights you were forced into.

The reason people try to get back into prison is because they come to the conclusion that it’s an easier life, not really a more comfortable or lavish life. People form bonds and relationships in prison and often when they leave, they find people on the outside that are unwilling to relate to them. So, they go back to where people accept them.

I suggest you watch some of the History Channel or National Geo channel specials on prison. 30 Days also did an interesting episode on prison stays. Of course, you could always commit a crime and find out how comfy it is for yourself 😛

Mike says:

Re: Re: Jail is NOT a nice place.


I would think his name would imply that he’s been there before. I guess that’s not the point though. The point I see is you having to question something as trivial as his statement. I don’t believe he said anywhere that he was an expert nor a criminal, but you seem to of pulled that straight out of your ass. As for what he suggested watching, what’s wrong with doing that? There’s not exactly a lot of mainstream material dedicated to detailing the workings of jails and prisons.

Either way, you need to pull your head out of your ass and find something more constructive to comment on instead of trying to make yourself feel important on the backs of others.

Scott says:

Re: Lets steer this back...

Those aren’t necessarily the only reason the are arrested. Ever watched COPS? The ones that admit they have it usually walk, the ones who deny it get busted.

It is great to see you all take sides in a statistic that if it was video game violence would have you all in an uproar about how it is portrayed from only one point without all the other facts available.

Jailhouse_Lawyer says:

Wake Up

The TV shows that show life in prison are damn good. I spent four years at MCI Cedar Junction (in Massachusetts) for a drug offense and too many times, I thought about killing myself.

You dumbass jokers that think legalizing the stuff is good, need to see the other side. Hell I’m out about twelve years now, and haven’t been able to find anything resembling a decent job. I currently drive a trash truck – picking up your garbage, even though I have a college degree. I make a good week’s pay, but with a criminal record and incarceration, that’s all I may ever do. I can’t even get approved for a small business loan in my own name due to the record and bankruptcy filing.

Yeah, go ahead man – toke up. There’s always room for another sucker.

Anonymous Coward says:

to 14….first act would probably to lob off your head…let real american deal with real issues is a real way. not some half ass attempt to say i support troups and shit like that, but then go out and pirate music/dvds…and remember, our government says that pays for terrorism….

moving along…true, the government wastes money. from art endowments, public education, border patrol, military, enviromental, corporate business, medical/scientific research…they waste money. but by wasting money, they generate money. spend 10 million in an art endowment to generate 50 million in other businesses (travel/food/materials for the art) and so on. I am glad to see the g’vmt taking a step forward, albiet a very small one. i’d hope they could find better ways to address the drug problem, but posting psa’s on the net is a step in the right direction

Pissed Taxpayer says:

Looks like someone didn't sleep well

Did I hit a nerve? Did you not like my opinion? Too bad. Why exactly do you think they allow comments on articles?

Lets see, I pay taxes, therefore I have a right to voice my opinion on how those taxes are spent. Pretty simple. As far as taking action, how exactly did you come to the conclusion that I don’t? Oh, that’s right, blind ignorance is bliss. It makes things appear that aren’t actually there. So how’s that working out for you?

Oh, and you just gotta love the way you jump to extremes right off the bat. That’s right, I must be communist because I think it’s wrong for police to waste so much time busting people for grass. Brilliant logic.

So, do us all a favor and go thump your personal beliefs elsewhere. We don’t need another right-wing biggot trying to censor what they don’t agree with. Either that or maybe try offering up some evidence as to what has actually been accomplished with the “war” on drugs.

Isn’t it a tad early to be drinking?

DJ says:

Re: Looks like someone didn't sleep well

Again…STFU n00b. I see retards like you that complain all the time. Oh I’ll piss n moan about how bad things are but wont lift a finger to do a damn thing about it. Yeah ignorance is bliss. You must be in heaven huh? Yeah you hit a nerve and as a “tax payer” I reserve the right to “thump” my opinions where ever the fuck I want. WOW sux to have that thrown back at you huh? Isn’t it time to go kick the dog n pick up your sister from school? Ya know your wife er I mean sister will wonder if you’re dating outside the family.

mr. rogers says:

Re: Re: Looks like someone didn't sleep well

your intellectual abilities are showing through, dj. stupidity and ignorance abounds in this country, therefore we have bible thumping neo-cons like yourself blindly paying taxes to a government in your eyes that should not be questioned. Smart. Thomas Jefferson stated it is the responsibility of every citizen to question and confront the government. but obviously the Constitution and the brilliant ideas of our founding fathers means as little to you as it does our government. “do something” you say. stop believing the lies. YOUR VOTE DOES NOT MATTER. MONEY RUNS THIS COUNTRY. THIS IS NOT A DEMCRACY IT IS AN ATOCRACY!
Another point to consider, though I’m sure you only consider those of ru$h limbagh, why did the so called “terrorists” attack us? Just a hint it was not because they were religious zealots. Educate yourself before stating you opinions.

Justin (user link) says:

Look I think people should be able to do what they want when it comes to soft drugs.

But you seem to be missing the point that it isn’t legal.

So you want to smoke your grass. Make it legal, in tell then whine all you want, but the law should be enforced. That would be why we have them.

We have lots of laws that I don’t like. I say if I want 12 wives why should you say no? If I want to serve booze after 2 am at a bar in Michigan I should be able to. I want to have a swingers party and fuck my best friends wife, I should be able too. But the laws say no no no.

If I really want to do something about that I need to get out the vote and get that shit changed. But I’m still kind of on the fence about 12 wives… it sounds like a lot of work.

Anonymous Coward says:

hey DJ, did you get fucked in the ass by a huge black man? i think you actually enoyed the susieQ special. if anyone is a noob, it’s you. if all you can come up with is STFU, wow. how long did it take you to figure out that one. sure, as a taxpayer you can say what you want, but as a voter, i ACTUALLY make a difference. Moreover, as a member of the armed forces, (army to be exact) i protect your skinny white ass to live in your mother’s basement and make stupid comments on an internet message board.

how do you like that…bbbbwwwwwaaaahhhhh.

The Man says:

Dear Mr. Rodgers

Why does it seem that libs think that everyone is stupid but them? I always hear how stupid Americans are in general and how the country sucks now and everyone needs to be more educated. When I talk to people who are more conservative it seems the opposite. People can take care of themselves. They are smart enough to make their own decisions and they do not need to the gov to do it for them.

Most people in this country are smart and good. Of course there are bad people and dumb people, but they make up a small percentage.

An Autocracy? Where do you get that? I am free to make any choice I want and make money any way I need to. No one has ever told me how to make a living or live my life. If I choose to make a living illegally so be it. Also, society has decided what should be illegal and what should not be, not the government. The people do have the rule. It may take awhile, but it eventually comes around.

I do not know why pot smokers get so impassioned about legalization. I have never been able to figure that out. To me legalization would bring more problems, such as would it still be legal for me not to hire someone to work for me if they had pot in their system? Legal or not, I do not want a drug addict working for me. And no I don’t want a drunk either. But, I know plenty of people who drink a glass a wine a night that are productive citizens. Everyone I have ever known that smokes a joint or two a day has been a freak. It does something weird to their personalities.

mr. rogers says:

Re: Dear Mr. Rodgers

whould you be so kind as to look up the word autocracy?
I am not a liberal i am a consitutionalist. explore the difference
the public does not make the laws or even vote on them, example: income tax
i know plenty of useless drunks that are proud of it just as i know a few useless potheads. the successful heads will not come out and tell you “i smoke pot occaissionlly”
read the original 13 amendments and tell me which freedom it guaranties still remain unfettered.
spell my name right

SmokePot says:


Even if people turned them into pro-drug videos (as, of course, someone will), it would get people paying attention and discussing the issues.

but that isn’t what the government wants. if people start talking rationally about drugs and drug use people will notice that at least half of what the government says about drugs (particularly marijuana) is a lie.

Anonymous Coward says:


I said STFU n00b. I enjoy trolling. that’s all i do, only because it makes me look good.

ahhahahaha… what a great way to wake up in the morning (afternoon) … i love to have a good laugh.

1.) n00b? what is this, counter strike? way to show you haven’t made it through middle school yet.

2.) it makes you look good? i won’t even argue with that… you just shot yourself in the foot there. or rather shot your friend in the face. whichever’s clever.

SmokePot says:

seriously people...

to anyone who says that someone giving their opinion that opposes the war on drugs needs to shut up and support our government, i say move to china. you apparently don’t understand what a democracy is, nor do you understand the concept of freedom of speech.

hard drugs should be illegal, yes. marijuana? well… anyone with a rational mind that can look at the facts about marijuana in comparison to tobacco and alcohol should come to 2 conclusions.

1.) marijuana should be regulated like tobacco and alcohol.
2.) tobacco and alcohol should have the same legal classification as marijuana.

let’s see how well #2 goes over…

seriously, how messed up is it when the arrests for marijuana incidents goes up while arrests for heroin and cocaine decrease? and don’t think for a second that this is because heroin and cocaine use has decreased. just take a walk around any city, or better yet, hit the suburbs and try to find some because you seriously need a wake up call.

SmokePot says:

Dear Mr. Rodgers

But, I know plenty of people who drink a glass a wine a night that are productive citizens. Everyone I have ever known that smokes a joint or two a day has been a freak. It does something weird to their personalities.

i take it you’ve never gone to college… it’s ok, a lot of people can live with just that high school degree…

The Man says:

Re: Dear Mr. Rodgers

I am sorry, you are right. I am not talking about college, because I myself may have tried an illegal narcotic once or twice in high school or college. (yes I did go and yes recieved my BS, which does not at all effect the ability of a person to make a good living. But that is another topic.) I am refering to people who are no longer kids and continue to act like kids by smoking pot.

SmokePot says:

Dear Mr. Rodgers

not to keep nitpicking… but since when has smoking pot been a childish activity? i’ll bet you’re the type who thinks playing video games is for kids and any adults who play video games need to “grow up”… it all comes down to how the individual manages his responsibilities, it has nothing to do with any recreational “devices” they enjoy.

an uncle of mine who smokes pot owns an insurance company, another uncle of mine who smokes pot is an environmental engineer. both are very successful. i myself am a college student and, of course, smoke pot, however i’m always willing to smoke a bowl and take on anyone in a game of chess. i usually win. i also do web design/development and repair computers for side money. unless i’m going to someone’s house for a repair job, chances are i’m in some state of “stoned” … and all my clients are completely satisfied with my work. i don’t drink however.

basically, whether you know it or not, there are plenty of successful and well-to-do people who occasionally smoke pot. the real problem comes when a person lets the pot smoking interfere with their everyday life, however it is still better that they were lucky enough to have marijuana as a vice rather than crack or heroin or even alcohol (and i’m not talking about the people who occasionally have a drink, that’s just as fine as smoking some pot once in a while).

DJ says:

Stop It!

I come here to troll and you guyz make me look like a fool! I think you should cut that out now! I was a poor child growing up, mommy never loved me and daddy never hugged me. I now live a pitifull existance trolling comments for news stories. Yeah I know it sounds absolutely pathetic, but I guess that’s what I am.

I just wish I could make friends, but I guess when I’m such a huge social reject stuff like that just doesn’t happen anymore. I’m a sad lonely little bitch of a man. Hell, my penis is only 3″. I hate my life and that’s why I say the things I do! SO STFU!

tychism says:

To quote an intelligent man:

“It’s not a war on drugs, it’s a war on personal freedom…keep that in mind at all times.”

Drug news is completely biased, and a war on drugs is absurd when you consider there will never be an absolute victory. There will always be a demand, which means there will always be profit.

To take care of the problem internally sounds like the way to go, but finding that solution is a whole different story.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...