Tech Wins Big in Inauguration Coverage

By January 21, 2009

We know about President Obama’s Blackberry, that he’s the first president 2.0, and there’s great hope he represents a new, greater relationship between the White House and technology. But we’re surprised that tech stories have played such a predominant part in coverage of Obama’s inauguration. The most visible stories have been about websites receiving record numbers of visitors, with CNN streaming an astounding 18.8 million videos. Akamai says that the inauguration was its 5th most-watched event since it started tracking them in 2005. Akamai also noted a 54 percent hike in worldwide Internet traffic during the inauguration, 60 percent in North America.

In mobile, the Washington D.C. area had cell phone problems as the number of calls spiked, often causing call delays and interruptions, even though the major carriers had already freed up a lot of wireless in anticipation of this.

Also making the news is the new blog on the president’s official site, According to Macon Phillips, director of new media for the White House, the blog will allow for greater communication, transparency, and participation.

Microsoft scored some nice PR points by allowing CNN to use its photo-stitching program Photosynth to make composite 3D pictures of the address. CNN itself played 13 million video streams of the event.

Virtual worlds also played their part. Second Life hosted a virtual Inaugural Ball at its 3D-rendered Capital Hill.

There was also the inevitable celeb-tweeting news, this time in the form of Jim Lehrer and Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill tweeting the ceremonies. Overall, Twitter had five times the normal tweets-per-second, and four times the normal tweets-per-minute, because of the inauguration.

The best? GeoEye-1, “The Google Satellite,” provided amazing pictures (see the one above) from space.

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