We have all seen the role of the internet, particularly social-media platforms, in the US presidential race 2008, but today’s inauguration promises to be the first that will enjoy such a degree of live blogging, live tweeting, plenty of Flickr-ing and even a big presence in virtual worlds such as Second Life.
Live streaming media over the web is now becoming as important, if not more important, a source for political news as live television broadcasts. A case in point being micro-blogging site Twitter, which has already ramped up its service in advance of expecting a deluge of tweets to mark the presidential inauguration in the White House today.
Twitter CEO Biz Stone told the NY Times that, despite not expecting as much traffic as at the height of the elections, the site “will nevertheless be doubling our through-put capacity before Tuesday”.
In a related side note that shows the increasing importance of Twitter as a news source, Yahoo! has released a mash-up called TweetNews that combines a Yahoo! Search with related tweets.
Those interested in the inauguration can follow the special Twitter account that has been created for the occasion, with information already coming in on related news, including links for ticket holders and about those attending.
YouTube has also been treated to the same with a specially branded channel from the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009.
As many may remember, Obama’s administration promised to shake up the White House back in November 2008, when it was announced that the traditional weekly radio address would also be brought to YouTube.
The blogosphere is also alight with the upcoming inauguration, with both the media and the public as well as the official inaugural blog taking part.
With better picture quality and good video capabilities on handsets, it is also expected that many attendees will be taking snaps and footage and uploading them mere seconds after having being recorded, while photo-hosting sites like Flickr and Photobucket, which allow users to upload directly form their mobiles, will be chock full of images before the traditional media get in with official photography.
So, today is the day to be logged into all these social networking sites to witness history twice over: America’s first black president and the first president to be tweeted into office.
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By Marie Boran