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First POST: Enhancing SOTU

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, January 25 2012

President Barack Obama and his director of speechwriting, Jon Favreau, on Jan. 23. Photo: Pete Souza / White House
  • President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union both online and offline last night. Viewers could watch on TV or on an enhanced broadcast offered by the White House. According to Twitter, a joke Obama made — or tried to make — about spilled milk produced the most tweets during the address, while top themes discussed on Twitter were #education, #energy and #jobs. Altogether there were 766,681 tweets with reference to the State of the Union, and 548 by members of Congress. "State of the union" was a top trending search on Google all day. On its homepage, Google had also encouraged users to view the address on YouTube. Later, another related trending search was "state of the union drinking game."

  • Brian Stelter of the New York Times noted that ABC and Bloomberg had the hashtag #sotu on screen. The Washington Post encouraged readers to play a State of the Union bingo game on Twitter.

  • A Twitter feed associated with Anonymous called the FBI a cyber-threat.

  • Speaker of the House John Boehner was running a promoted tweet ahead of the State of the Union stating that "The House has passed nearly 30 bills #4jobs that remain stuck in the Democrat-run Senate #stateofjobs #SOTU."

  • This was the first year reporters were allowed to use electronic devices on the House floor during the speech.

  • Mitt Romney released a web video entitled "The Real State of the Union" as a "pre-buttal" to the President's speech.

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israeli President Shimon Peres addressed by video a virtual online peace conference of Israeli and Arab youth that took place on Facebook earlier this week.

  • A federal judge in Colorado has ruled that the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination does not protect a laptop owner from decrypting her encrypted hard drive.

  • The Washington Post explored a Super PAC affiliated with Newt Gingrich:

    Phillips said one example of what the group is doing came Saturday night. Within 30 minutes of Gingrich being declared the winner in South Carolina, the super PAC had sent out an e-mail titled “Newt the American.” The message, including a video with excerpts of Gingrich’s victory speech in Columbia, S.C., had reached 6 million voters by Sunday morning.

  • Rick Perry has been a source of online traffic for the Texas Tribune.

  • A video-based Facebook advertising firm has launched a new tool called Sociolitical for campaign managers to reach out to voters using social media and video.

  • Dylan Byers of Politico reports that Nathan Kleinman, a member of Occupy Philadelphia, will be the first member of the movement to seek congressional office. Kleinman intends to challenge Democratic incumbent Allyson Schwartz in the upcoming primary.

  • More information about Missouri's public finances could become available in an online database.

  • In response to a D+ ranking from government watchdog Good Jobs First on disclosures of economic development subsidies, the Maryland Business and Economic Development Department is releasing the Finance Tracker. The Finance Tracker is a web tool that allows users to see what actions the department are taking and what types of financing is available to businesses.

  • In an annual address on communication, Pope Benedict XVI warned against overexposure to online communication tools:

    The process of communication nowadays is largely fuelled by questions in search of answers. Search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers. In our time, the internet is becoming ever more a forum for questions and answers – indeed, people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware. If we are to recognize and focus upon the truly important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive.

  • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is planning a TV show where he will interview key political plays, thinkers, and revolutionaries from around the world.

  • Marketing Land looks at which other sites got traffic when Wikipedia was down last week.

  • Google is updating and unifying its privacy policies and terms of service, as the New York Time and other news organizations reported:

    The new privacy policy makes clear that for people logged into a Google account, Google can use information shared on one service in other Google services.“If you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services,” Alma Whitten, Google’s director of privacy for product and engineering, wrote in a company blog post. “In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”

    Marketing Land has further analysis.

  • While some Polish websites sites were blacked out yesterday to protest the anti-counterfeiting initiative ACTA, Anonymous attacked governmental websites in Ireland. A Federal Trade Commission site was also hacked yesterday.

  • A law similar to SOPA could be coming to Canada.

  • A New Zealand court has denied bail to the founder of the now-defunct file-sharing site Megaupload. Meanwhile, Reuters reports he could face lengthy extradition proceedings.

  • EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding reaffirmed that the European Union would not restrict access to the Internet. "You'll never have from Europe a blocking of the Internet -- that's not the European option," she said.

  • In a speech at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg suggested, in light of upcoming EU privacy regulations, that Facebok could have a positive economic impact in Europe in the right regulatory environment, the New York Times reported.

  • The Norwegian Data Inspectorate has ruled that corporate uses of Google Apps are in breach of Norwegian law because of the Patriot Act, Open Digital reports


  • The mobile phone operator Orange will provide free access to Wikipedia on phones in the Middle East and Africa.

  • On the anniversary of the Egyption revolution, the New York Times features a first-hand account in text and video from Egyptian activist Adel Abdel Ghafar, who tweets under @dooolism, of the revolution's first hours, and also talked to other activists.

  • Iran has been arresting several bloggers, writers and programmers.

  • Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has called for all government spending to be relayed online for monitoring. He wants the transition to be completed within six months and hopes for information to be updated in real time

  • Following a cancellation of his personal visit due to perceived death threats, a video link broadcast featuring author Salman Rushdie at an Indian literary conference was also cancelled because of a threat of violence.

With Raphael Majma

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