The inauguration of Barack Obama earlier today was a milestone in the history of this country. While we like to keep politics out of our business communications, there were some notable things in play that are worth mentioning, as the peaceful transfer of power was not the only thing evident on this crisp Washington D.C day.
Our world is much smaller now. Smaller than ever before. It is so because of technology, and we must be ever vigilant about it, or it will pass us by. All of those things we’ve talked about in our businesses for the past decade as, “things for the future” are now upon us. And never was it more evident than in the inaugural coverage witnessed by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
CNN invited the world to submit photos. They had cameras across the country and we watched each other watching – in high definition. When the president-elect walked down the steps prior to the swearing in, nearly everyone, his daughter included, was busy snapping digital photos – and in many cases, sending them to family and friends. So much so, that cell service in the Metro DC area was compromised for a time both yesterday and today. People were using flickr, twitter, facebook, myspace, their own blogs, and even CNN. The era of the iReporter is upon us.
CNN also invited people to watch the post-inagural parade and other activities via computer. Literally. “Watch CNN on your computer – www.cnn.com” was displayed on-screen multiple times. And overall, the graphics we see now move, change shape, and are presented in computer-display clarity. The move to push people to watch was most likely a calculated marketing move as well. Once the inauguration was over, people headed to work. By promoting viewership via computer, CNN was essentially encouraging people to watch from work. And, if they watch today, what about tomorrow?
And the technology outreach via the web wasn’t limited to CNN. More than ever before, the use of technology is being used to communicate with everyday people in this country and across the planet. CNN is also partnering with Facebook and users of the system provided real-time impressions of the event. Those impressions appeared in a “facebook” window on the cnn.com website. According to the Los Angeles Times, there were more than 1.3 million concurrent connections via Facebook. By 10AM, CNN reported it has delivered more than 10.7 million video streams this morning, a new record.
CBS and its anchor Katie Couric will host a webcast in which anyone with web access can submit questions. Fox News has decided to use a third-party web service, Hulu to stream the event. Following today’s activities, Hulu will make the entire inaugural and all such speeches an on-demand product.
Even the New York Times, long known for its traditional approach to things, will stream their own or subscribed video via their websites. MSNBC will allow people to embed video streams in their websites, no doubt borrowing a page (literally) from YouTube.
The result is that live television is no longer a couch potato pastime. It is now an interactive, mobile, office, auto, and interactive television experience. These tools are important for promotion. They’re important for research. They’re vital for product marketing. And, they’re good for saying hello and staying in touch, too.
And the White House is now with the program as well. At approximately 12:03PM, once Barack Obama was officially President (but before he completed being sworn in), a completely new White House website was launched. It reflects the “with it” web 2.0 technology awareness that the President is already known for.
This has significant meaning for all of us. It’s now time to evaluate the use of these tools as a component of your 2009 business model. For us, we’re more committed than ever to recognize and help our clients realize the potential of viral and Web 2.0 technologies.