Obama inauguration and the digital nation


Obama CNN/Facebook

Live feeds flooded the Web the day Barack Obama was sworn in as President. As viewers, both on the Mall and at their computers, participated in the most viewed event in history to date, an estimated 5.5 million people visited online news sites to catch history in action. That’s no surprise considering the amount of Internet traffic Obama created during his campaign via social networking sites and YouTube, where he held fireside chats.

Americans at work who couldn’t get to a television gave Web viewing video an advantage over broadcast television. All morning, attendees in Washington uploaded photos on Flicker and other photo sites, and even the presidents daughter whipped out her camera to document her Dad’s big day. Text, photo and video messages fled across phone lines, and live tweeting partnered with broadcast stations.

Microsoft joined with CNN to introduce Photosynth, software that morphs a series of photos into digital, 3-D panorama, and used professional and user-generated content taken from cellphones and cameras. In digital worlds, avatars dressed in their best to attend inaugural parties on Second Life and Wee World, and mobile phone applications allowed users to view streaming videos from major news stations on iPhones.

CNN was one news organization that turned the page on emerging media that day with their collaboration with Facebook.

CNN. com, which partnered with Facebook to allow users to watch the event online while chatting with friends — sort of the virtual equivalent of an Oscar party — built a platform that could support 1 million concurrent viewers. Facebook users noted their favorite parts of the songs, speeches and poems (“Praise Song for the Day,” wrote one user, echoing the lyrical title of Elizabeth Alexander’s inaugural poem).

Six West Virginia University students also participated in the day’s events and documented their experience from D.C. on “Gold and Blue at the Inauguration,” where they blogged, and posted tweets, video and photos during the ceremony.


One Response to “Obama inauguration and the digital nation”

  1. I discovered your homepage by coincidence.
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