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White House stream adds element of conversation through popular social networking site
Yesterday at 7:00 PM EST, the official White House blog announced “Something Special for the Country Music Fans.”
About a half hour later, a feed went live on the Web site’s video stream page of President Obama delivering a quick few words before country stars Charley Pride, Brad Paisley, and Alison Krauss and Union Station took center stage. These performances mark the second event in the White House Music Series, first introduced by First Lady Michelle Obama last month.
While anyone could merely watch the video on the White House Web site, Obama’s team also made the live feed available through a page on Facebook where users could comment on the video while watching the performances.
This is far from the first time that the White House has taken advantage of social media networking.
In fact, just last Friday, the administration announced an upcoming news conference through a Twitter message. That tweet, in turn, is just a drop in the torrent of information that President Obama and his team have chosen to make available through social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
And judging by the number of appreciative comments that rolled in every few seconds during the live feed, it looks like Facebook users love the White House’s use of technology and its force in bringing people together: “Lenese Herbert isn't even a fan of Country and Western! Yet, this live streaming from the East Room is WONDERFUL.”
Not only that, but other people appear to be pleased just sharing an experience with a man in such a distant and powerful position: “Angela Howard is enjoying watching a concert with the President. :)”
As advanced as the stream seemed, the implementation was a little bit rough around the edges. I made a comment during Alison Krauss' performance, which users watching the live feed probably understood perfectly. What didn’t make sense was Facebook’s publishing of the update on my profile page, like any regular old update. This was just one little kink in the system that probably caused confusion for a significant amount of people.
Regardless, the hour-long event proves once again that, despite what anybody thinks of the politics and platform of our current administration, its fearlessness in experimenting with and embrace of social media is something to be applauded.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.