Re-tweeting Obama: Twitter and the presidential inauguration online

Barack Obama's inauguration as 44th president of the United States of America was followed by millions online and via all kinds of new technology -- we've picked the highlights from Twitter

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
5 min read

Zadi WOW. Remember where you are, what you're doing and thinking. You'll tell this story to your grandkids.

mseasons will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.

At 12 noon eastern standard time yesterday, Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America. The eyes of the world's media were on Washington DC for the 56th presidential inauguration, but what did the people have to say... in 140 characters or less? Anyone who thinks Twitter is banal in the everyday could well be won over by the coverage of events like this...

Marti_L This is the magnificence of Twitter. To be able to share this moment, live, with people from around the globe

We picked some of our highlights from the tweets related to the inauguration, as filtered by the #inaug09 tag. The wealth of support among the Twitterati for Obama and his message of hope was clear from the start...

seanmcdonald That Obama, moments from being president, just looked back and winked at his kids, is what has him connecting with so many people.

kristinebrigola ...Obama is walking in. (he kind of had that "can you smell what the rock is cooking" look to him!)

dcwilson303 Very happy for the president and glad to see so many people watching it online.

Indeed. The inauguration of the man dubbed 'the first digital president' could be followed in a staggering number of ways...

jkimlosangeles Technology has completely changed media experience. Watching twitter feed, online webcast and updating facebook on inauguration.

Scobleizer Obama is President at Current TV just changed broadcasting forever: http://ff.im/Gn3j

MichaelParsons The TV Web is all growed up: I've got Joost, CNN Live and Sky HD all streaming in the same tabbed browser without a flicker

or as our own Ian Morris put it...

ian9outof10 I've got monitor to the left of me, and monitor to the right of me. All showing web streams of Obama :)

And of course, we didn't even need to be tied to a computer... (image: trammell)

tim Watching a black president being on augurated on ustream on my mobile phone. This truly is the future!

trammell Listening to NPR's coverage of Obama's Inauguration on my iPhone. If my father read this, he'd want me shot out of a cannon into The Sun

And it all just worked!

bobthomson70 is amazed BBC streaming is working so well - well played BBC techies.

Glinner whoah! Hotspot shield seems to be working! Thanks to all who suggested it! ooh, wait...buffering pretty bad

ruskin147 can't make Facebook/CNN work - but have installed Ustream on iphone - who else is having a new media #inaug09 ?

robharrigan no streaming sites of the #inaug09 are responding good job internet

joannavos I take it back. This SKY HD thing sucks - I'm getting 2 seconds sound, 10 seconds silence - anyone got any better suggestions?

Okay, so it kind of all just worked. But us geeks are nothing if not resourceful... (image: Emily Chang)

dre_the_enigma New whitehouse.gov site, Facebook/CNN failure, and our stream ends so Margaret's iPhone saves the day. (Along with KUSP!)

drewstearne Looks like the slight delay and less than HD quality of the Slingbox feed is worht the stability over other options.

Watching people's tweets also showed an interesting perspective on the battle between old media and new media...

bitNomad Sign of the times: more people will watch the speech on youtube than on tv

dotBen Oh yes, the BBC coverage rocks compared to CNN - its the same stream with the same commentry and analysis team as the tv broadcast.

bloggingmolly The networks should take a note from Hulu. Show, don't tell: Stream the event, lose the "captain obvious"

chuchurocka msnbc just started playing an Audi commercial in the middle of the speech!

hmargulies The inaugural feed on Fox News was out of sync with other news networks on in the office. Just like every day.

But what of Twitter itself, notorious for crashing at big events like an Apple launch -- did we see the fabled Fail Whale error message? (image: BBC)

MikeLizun Okay, back to work. Twitter, nice job during the #inaug09 Didn't see one fail whale. Slow, but that is to be expected. Many sites were

stuhelm Do you think Obama got his folks to give Twitter a few extra DoD servers for today

badgergravling Just thought - if Obama isn't biggest twitter event, it's the biggest positive Twitter event

jongalloway This speech is running long - just show off the new iPods already!

monkchips hash tags are fing pointless with this type of event. just watch the tweets of the people you normally follow. the conversation is there.

Good idea Mr Monkchips. Let's see what this Craver's friends were saying...

mrtonylee Am I the only one who, after she announced the elects and currents, wanted her to go 'LETS GET READY TO RUUUMMMMMBBLLLLEEEE!!!!'

shinygemma For the record, Michelle Obama is wearing Isabel Toledo, who designed for Anne Klein for a short while. You totally needed to know that.

JazCummins Aretha Franklin! Their politics is so much glammer than ours!

adamvaughan_uk Starting hash tag #biggardenbirdwatch for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Please use to share your bird spotting experiences this weekend :-)

Meanwhile, the enormity of the day was even recorded by the people involved... (image: Warren Ellis)

mediatree Most striking thing yet? Malia Obama filming her Dad from behind on her digital camera.

dmcclure She needs a flip or zi6 up there, not a point and shoot!

HamWithCam Ha! VP Biden snapping a few pics with his Canon Powershot 1100IS! Flickr, Mr. Vice President?

MCHammer Pac this is for you....I know how you dreamed of this...I'm throwing a 2 in the air in your memory...love you !!

Why, the Flip Video Ultra, Flip Video Mino or Kodak Zi6? Good thinking!

Twitter is disproportionately stuffed full of geeks, so many tweets were specifically talking tech when lauding Obama's hope for the future... (image: Stephen Fry)

laughingrid "We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders"

heathred blah blah faith in god & our political system. i wanna hear about that FIBER OPTIC INTERNET.

Quite. A good sign is that in Obama's government, change begins at home...

laughingsquid all of https://www.whitehouse.gov has switched over, looks great, blog posts prominently featured on front page, RSS Autodiscovery works

A good day, then, for the US, for the Internet, for Twitter, for the geek in all of us, and hopefully for the world. Time will tell, of course; it always does. But the real question... (image: whitehouse.gov)

JoannaLord I wonder what his speech would be if he was only given 140 characters to say it in?