Obama Inauguration: Info Extravaganza


This was not your grandfather’s Inauguration.

Grandpa might have listened over the radio, your parents viewed it on television, but this generation viewed/participated in it through so many different media.



In my article on the History of Inauguration Day, I said that:

…the event will be covered simultaneously by networks, live Internet streaming video, as well as coverage via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, blogs, and Hulu… It will not be just the number of people who are physically present at the Inauguration, many times the 30K at Lincoln’s swearing in. Consider the amount of information that will be generated, distributed, replicated, commented upon, redistributed, and repurposed — much of it in real-time for those “virtually” attending. From high-resolution video to low-bandwidth text messages, from long webcasts to short SMS messages, the cables and airwaves will be lit up. As the first “wired” — or is it wireless — President Barack Obama gives his inauguration speech, American’s heads will be in the Internet cloud.


Personally, I was watching it on TV, while on my iPhone tracking Twitter and Ustream.tv. Let’s look at some of the statistics of the online information available.

On Inauguration Day, by early afternoon:


  • Claimed it served almost 19 million live video streams, almost four times the feeds of Election Day
  • Obama’s Facebook Fan Page has more than 4 million fans and in excess of 500,000 wall posts
  • CNN had served 13.9 million live video streams globally since 6 am
  • CNN had broken its all-time total daily streaming record (from Election Day) of 5.3 million live streams.


  • Had a partnership with CNN, as well as a number of “applications” enabling participation with the event. They claimed:
  • 600,000 status updates posted through the CNN.com Live Facebook feed
  • Averaged 4,000 status updates per minute during the broadcast
  • 8,500 status updates were posted during the first minute of Obama’s speech
  • “Millions” of people logged into Facebook during the broadcast



  • Had a variety of feeds, available in different formats


  • Did a PhotoSynth of the Inauguration inviting anyone to send in their photos which would be stiched into a virtual 3D representation of the The Moment. Scores of people sent in multi-megabyte files.


How did you participate in the Inauguration?


Thanks for coming along.


About billpetro

Bill Petro writes articles on history, technology, pop culture, and travel. He has been a technology sales enablement executive with extensive experience in Cloud Computing, Automation, Data Center, Information Storage, Big Data/Analytics, Mobile, and Social technologies.


  1. Lou on January 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Bill,

    I watched after the fact on youtube. The video source played on youtube.com was c-span. I would have in fact watched in person but I confused 11am Eastern with 11am Pacific and missed the live broadcast.


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