Highlighted Site of the Week – The State of The Union at Whitehouse.gov - State and Federal Communications

February 4, 2011  •  

Highlighted Site of the Week – The State of The Union at Whitehouse.gov

President Barack Obama delivered his 2011 State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress on January 25. If you missed it, it’s not a problem, you can watch an archived video on the White House website. What you may have missed is the “Gov 2.0 style” conversation that surrounded the event.

Gov 2.0 is a term that gets thrown around a great deal to describe the new way government and citizenry can interact through technology. I think the State of the Union Address 2011 is a dramatic example of how far social media has changed the way government operates.

George Washington's First SOTU Address

All we have from George Washington’s first State of the Union Address is his manuscript and that is pretty much it – precious as it is.

For the State of the Union 2011, Whitehouse.gov provided live video online (now archived) of the speech, a transcript of the text, and a photo gallery. You can also download it on iTunes.

But it was what happened after the event that we see where Gov 2.0 really came into play. The White House provided the chance for an exchange with the American people. According to Whitehouse.gov: “In the days following the State of the Union Address, President Obama and senior Administration officials held a series of live online events to answer your questions.” Through social media, the White House took in questions from the public and then answered (some of) them.

On the Whitehouse.gov SOTU site you can see a video of President Obama responding to questions. You can see Vice President Joe Biden fielding questions on Yahoo. There are videos of what was a series of live online roundtables with White House policy experts in the areas of the economy, education, foreign policy, and healthcare. Live from the White House,  senior White House officials also answered questions about issues covered in the speech and you can see it on YouTube.

From the website, you can receive email updates regarding the State of the Union address or follow the White House on Twitter and Facebook. Connectivity, it’s all about connectivity.

If you want more, there is plenty out there. One of the coolest websites – stateoftheunion.onetwothree.net has an interactive word cloud that allows you to see exactly how many times a word is used in all of the State of the Union Addresses by all of the presidents. The admirable American Presidency Project offers an easily navigable source of transcripts from every State of the Union Address since George Washington’s first.

That ought to keep you busy. Have a great weekend!

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