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 WH.gov/inauguration was overflowing with photo galleries, live streams, podcasts, and blog posts, including a video entitled “Everyone Has a Part to Play” at whitehouse.gov/engage 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!