Obama's historic inauguration and coverage

Bambi Francisco Roizen · January 20, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/65a

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube to deliver Barack Obama 2009 presidential inauguration

How times have changed. 

Move over ABC, CBS and NBC, there are new ways to follow the news these days - Twittter, Facebook and YouTube.

On Tuesday, the world will be watching an historic event - the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States. But the event isn't only historic because of who is being inaugurated, but it's historic in its unprecedented coverage and viewership. 

The coverage is leaps and bounds far more ubiquitous and dynamic than in past years. As recent as the last U.S. presidential election when President Bush was inaugurated in 2005, Facebook was barely a year old, and still confined to Harvard students. YouTube was not even founded, until February 2005. Twitter was barely a side project until a year later.

For all we knew back in 2005, to Twitter meant to utter successive chirping sounds, Hulu meant a Chinese word for calabash and joost meant intoxicated. 

Obviously, these words have new meaning. And, now they're part of the services that give us a 360% view of events - from all angles and all perspectives.

Today, everything you need to know about this historic event is at your fingertips. Of course, in four years, this will all change too.

But let's start with what we can expect from the Web and media coverage of this event.

On Wikipedia, the live encyclopedia that records events as though it were a news site, a profile page for Obama's inauguration has been established, with essentials, such as time and place. Who knew that you could get "future" event information from an encyclopedia? 

Of course, news coverage isn't the same without Twitter these days. When I was a television journalist, we used to go out on the street and get "MOS" (Man on Street) soundbites. Now, you get those in spades on Twitter.

Twitter's coverage has already been quite active, with thousands of posts every couple minutes.

Today, services like Twitter are the ones traditional news sites are leveraging. 

No longer are we confined to top-down coverage from network television, ABC, NBC, CBS, or 24-hour news coverage from CNN, though they're excellent at providing full-blown coverage. These news sites know that in order to deliver the best coverage, they have to incorporate and leverage Web 2.0 services. 

While CBSNews has its "Countdown to 44" inauguration page, it also has a Twitter feed, called CBSNewsHotSheet. Clearly this profile was just created as there are only 54 followers.

While FoxNews is gearing up for the event with its inaugural destination, the media site knows it has to be where the audience is. You can also catch Fox live on Fox's Facebook profile, where Fox has attracted 70,000 friends.


CNN is also leveraging Facebook to deliver the coverage. On CNN, you can update your status and see status updates from your friends and other Facebook users on CNN.



Meanwhile, both FoxNews and CNN know that they can't just cover the event with their highly-paid anchors and reporters. They're also leveraging the audience and giving them a voice. On FoxNews, you can upload your photos or videos about breaking news on its uReport page

On CNN, anyone can become an iReporter. CNN will be taking the pulse of society and capturing "Your view of history."


While YouTube seems to have been a part of political life and news coverage for years, this will be the first year that it has an official inauguration page as it was founded a month after the last inauguration day. 

Here's YouTube's inauguration page.

You can also watch the event on Joost, on its "Everything Obama" page.

For live events, forget C-Span, you can watch the event live on Hulu


Or, if you want a live experience with chat, go to Ustream's live coverage.


And for other crowd-sourcing information about the event, go to NowPublic. About 24 hours before the inauguration, NowPublic was a day behind in the crowd-sourcing department. But nonetheless, it was taking in posts.


How else is the Web capturing this event differently than the 2005 inauguration?

I think I got a lot covered, but here's the kitchen sink, just in case.




 (Note: This story was updated. It was first published on Jan. 19)

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.

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