New president, new media

CNN Live with Facebook
CNN Live with Facebook

President Barack Obama was sworn into office today, with the backdrop of his historic election and the current economic and international crises. Meanwhile, we at the Lab negotiated new and traditional media channels to take it all in. Here’s what we had to say about inauguration 2.0:

Lab Director, Lori Schwartz:
This morning’s inauguration was exciting to say the least, not to mention exploring all the new media channels that were available.
I personally logged on to CNN Live with Facebook and was thrilled with the video and comments solution that they built for this event.
It immediately conjured up a number of business applications re presentations involving video and the ability to solicit and engage with community.

If this is truly the information age, then combining a clear video stream with interaction that works flawlessly is a no-brainer.  When it comes to training, corporate communication, PR, and for our business needs regarding brand interactions, this functionality can open doors.

The experience was not perfect…the video had its limitations and when I switched cameras, I lost the feed and during the height of Obama’s speech, I could not get video again…but the comments kept flowing.  In particular  was the immediacy and response to particular moments in his speech. He mentioned tolerance and that launched a long and commented debated about his choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation, and what that meant.

I played with Twitpic (was hoping for a ton of historic photos to be taken through this twitter machine); Linklive, a community site for keeping up with today’s events (it was up and down); a new White House page which was immediately noted by commenter’s to be up; and finally – amusing but today was more about Obama and where, what, how he was doing.

Social Media Expert, Raquel Krouse:
Despite the genuine complaints around the streaming video, I enjoyed the social viewing experience provided by the partnership between Live and Facebook. It was fun to share the historic event with my Facebook friends. Although separated by geography, we could still gather to share the live broadcast – read each other’s comments and chat as the moments unfolded. I talked about how TV was getting more social in this post, but it’s great to see the fruits of that evolution.  In addition to Facebook and CNN’s initiative, CBS has launched a social viewing room, and Lycos has released their social cinema product, joining the growing list of companies trying to make the viewing experience a more social one.

Senior Content Editor, Devora Rogers:
My husband and I awoke this morning and readied our computers for action–the plan was to watch the inauguration from our laptops via CNN Live and Facebook, with Hulu as a back up (we canceled our cable last week in outrage over Time Warner’s spotty cable and an attempt to move towards newer, better television solutions). It was exciting at first–I logged on to my Facebook account early and the comments window came up. Sadly, the video never loaded though–and when we tried to restart the program, we got shut out–alas, there wasn’t enough “room” for us. We switched over to Hulu, which was running Fox’s live stream.  We were able to watch the inauguration there (after sitting through ads for “Mall Cop” which was bizarre), however the experience was sad for a lover of emerging media. The video kept falling behind the audio, the picture kept freezing, and I was panicky the whole time that the video would drop out altogether. By the time it was all done, I just wanted to know–it’s 2009, and this is where our live streaming capabilities are at?

One step forward for mankind, one step backward for streaming video.

For the next inauguration, I’m going to hope our live streaming technology improves.