The State of the Union is one of the key dates in the US political calendar. It’s an extensive speech in which the President lays out his agenda for the year ahead, accompanied by clapping, standing ovations, and carefully selected guests.
Unsurprisingly such an event is a media scrum too, and generates a huge amount of conversation online.
Major US broadcaster CNN tried to guide that online conversation, with anchor Jake Tapper using the Jelly app to ask followers what they wanted to hear President Obama say. Jelly is an app for iOS, Android, and web that allows users to answer questions posed in question form, either by doodling an answer or typing one in.
Flicking through the answers this morning, it seemed to be a good way of generating interaction and response, with a good number of answers ranging across a variety of topics, from education, the minimum wage to…twerking. Here was my contribution to the debate:
CNN said that they would be reading some of the answers out on air too, and using Jelly probably makes doing this a little bit more organised, and certainly more visual and engaging, than using a hashtag on Twitter, or a comment stream on Facebook.
Twitter though was full of politicians and politicos giving their realtime opinion on the speech, that lasted over an hour. In a blog post, Twitter has compiled the moments of peak tweeting. The item of the speech that got the most tweets was a joke about the TV programme Mad Men and equal pay, which generated 33,555 tweets per minute, followed by a call to increased (29,859 TPM), and the ever controversial Affordable Care Act (25,990 TPM).
Vine, the Twitter-owned video platform, also got in on the action, with Michelle Obama posting a video of her heading over to the Capitol, and John Boehner replying by Vine!
There were selfies too, of course.
— Mark Udall (@MarkUdall) January 29, 2014
The State of the Union is just another demonstration of how social media is disrupting our politics, and politicians and media companies are having to find ever more original ways to use the technology to get their voice heard at these key events.