As I mentioned on Monday, Google — which owns YouTube — invited me to attend the CNN/YouTube Democratic Debate in Charleston, SC. 

Thank you, Google and CNN for a great time!  I had so much fun.

I was part of a group of about 10 to 15 YouTubbers that were invited.  Some were invited since they are active in political discussions on YouTube while the rest of us were selected since our questions had a great chance of making the debate. 

My question was to find out where candidates get their news and information and why they trust their main sources.  It didn't make the telecast, but just barely.

Personally, one of the most interesting aspects of the the debate was talking with my new friends who are active on YouTube.  For instance, one is starting a new job any day now and mentioned in a recent video that she mentioned her employment news.  Then all of the sudden she posts a video from Charleston explaining she's attending the debate as a guest of YouTube.  She laughed that the timing of the debate and new job aligned poorly.  Someone left a comment on her post giving her the impression that her subscribers might now think that she is a YouTube plant — a lonelygirl15. 

Another new friend got an angry comment from one of her channel subscribers just after she posted her first video from Charleston.  The person asked if she was attending the debate, and she said that she wasn't since we all had to sign non-disclosure agreements to not reveal our trip until the day of the debate.  The commenter called her a liar.  However, what could she do?

Transparency is crucial in social media, and two of my friends were accidentally caught in incidents that affected their reputations.  Hopefully, any disgruntled subscribers understand the circumstances that my friends were placed in.  That's one of the most important things I learned during my whirlwind trip — a once in a lifetime experience that I don't want to happen just once.

Now, in interest of transparency, here's a disclosure.  The Bivings Group has an account with Fred Thompson's campaign.  Having said that, here are the circumstances around my question and invitation.  I recorded my question before we had the Thompson account, and YouTube had no idea of my employer or job before inviting me last Wednesday.  Before the debate I did disclose my connection to Thompson to the Google staffers in charge of my trip.  Further, I also disclosed this fact to journalists that interviewed me about my experiences in Charleston.