Inauguration 2.0: Citizen Networking

The confluence of Obama's call for volunteerism and involvement with the social networking movement equals the first inauguration with its own backtalk channel.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

The Obama Administration (how I have longed to say those words!) has made a promise to involve common citizens in our government and a request that citizens get involve in the business of meeting society’s needs. While an inauguration is ceremonial, it works as a gathering point for the whole nation.

What’s unusual about this inauguration is that the gathering can happen not just in our emotions but also in our texts, our Facebook pages, our tweets. To some degree that happened on the media’s web portals and probably to a larger degree in the one-to-one and crowdsource media.

Ground zero for the social inauguration: Twitter, which cofounder Biz Stone said held up grandly to the onslaught of messages from the Mall. He told Computerworld:

We have a sense that Twitter is not about the triumph of technology, it's about the triumph of humanity. We see this in the way folks use Twitter during emergencies to self-organize and help one-another, and we see it during important, massively shared events like today's historic inauguration. Our role is to provide a more efficient way for people to communicate and then step out of the way and let it happen.

ZD blogger Jennifer Leggio says Web 2.0 stood up admirably to the rush of history. Social networkers offered up a winners and losers list for the Web.

Winners: Besides Twitter, cnn.com, Ustream, Facebook and FriendFeed. Losers: MSNBC and Hulu.

The result of all this is that you don't just have to ask talking heads and think-tank pundits how it went. You can just tap into the flow of comment, if you can find a way to filter out the noise.

Dan Olds, principal analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group, [said] "These personal histories can be viewed, aggregated, and eventually analyzed by anyone who is interested in getting a true sense of how people perceived particular events while they were happening. We haven't had that ability before. It will be interesting to see if and how real historians use this vast collection of first person narratives in their own works."

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