Social Media in Inauguration 2013



Like so many of today’s major national events, Inauguration 2013 featured an unprecedented level of social media coverage. At 10 am on the day of, according to Twitter, there had already been more tweets in the previous 90 minutes than during the actual 90-minute inauguration ceremony in 2009 (see ABC News). Of the major sources of Twitter chatter, some of the most popular: Aretha Franklin’s hat (from Inauguration 2009), Michelle Obama’s bangs, Malia Obama’s dance moves, and, of course, Beyonce. (The Borowitz Report at the New Yorker released a tongue-in-cheek “news” report that congressional Republicans called on Obama to resign after Beyonce lip-synced the national anthem.) Other topics of interest: Michelle Obama throwing “world-historical shade” at John Boehner during the post-inauguration luncheon. Also, 23 Reasons Why Sasha and Malia Stole the Inauguration, including wearing complementing monochromatic outfits and “photobombing” their parents kissing. The Washington Post had an interactive panoramic photograph in which users could tag themselves and their friends alongside the officials and VIPs the Post had tagged.

Other more symbolic or emotionally poignant moments of the day also received significant social media attention. President Obama’s historic mention of gay rights in his inaugural address, with the words “our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” prompted plenty of Twitter reactions from all sides. On one side: “Happy to hear POTUS include gay rights in his #inauguration speech on MLK day! It IS a civil rights issue!!” On the other end: “Obama linking gay rights to civil right is bold because frankly many from the civil rights movement resist the comparison #inaug2013”. The official website was overflowing with photo galleries, live streams, podcasts, and blog posts, including a video entitled “Everyone Has a Part to Play” at highlighting ways for “Americans to raise their voices and join the national conversation.”

Did social media make you feel more of a connection to Inauguration 2013? Do you think the social media revolution has changed the way we experience “historical” events? Let us know your thoughts!



Welcome to Plugged In: Tufts Communications & Media Studies blog! This is a place for you to get plugged in – to what’s going on in the CMS program, to other like-minded students with opinions to share, and to the broader “real world” of media.

  • What can we learn about media interpretation from the TV show Homeland? Or Gossip Girl? Or Glee?
  • Is any film that Steven Spielberg puts out an automatic hit?  What accounts for the phenomenal success of Lincoln in its first weeks?
  • Can today’s elections be influenced by an internet meme?
  • What is the future of journalism – is it really a “dying industry”?
  • Where can I find jobs in freelance blogging?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering the answer to these questions – or many more like them – then come join the conversation. Participate as a reader, a writer, or a commenter – answer a question, or pitch an idea of your own.

So join us and continue the conversation!

From the New Yorker -

A few quick things to keep in mind:

  • While the blog can be used as a forum for discussing ongoing events in the CMS program, it is not a forum for singling out specific individuals, including professors. Only mention specific individuals by name with their explicit permission. Do not use the blog as a forum to complain about individuals/professors/classes etc, but certainly use it as a way to continue the conversation of interesting issues that might arise in your classes.
  • Similarly, we encourage you to use blog postings to reflect on or comment about things you see, hear and read in media, but not to launch unjustified invectives.  Critique is fine; defamation is not.
  • In the words of the “Bloggers Code of Conduct,” take responsibility for your words, and never say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.
  • While it is not our intention to censor, blog administrators retain the right to refrain from posting anything that goes against this code.


Serving as initial blog editors/contributors will be student workers and members of the CMS staff and faculty, who will help get us started.

A little about us:

  • Claudia Schwartz: I’m a first-year graduate student at the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, studying international business and conflict. I’ve been a student assistant in the CMS program for about 6 months.
  • Julie Dobrow is Director of the CMS program and will be contributing periodically to the blog.
  • John Ciampa is Staff Assistant of the CMS program and will be a regular contributor to the blog.

You’ll also be hearing from other student workers and members of the CMS staff and faculty in the coming weeks, and of course we’re excited to hear from you!