Tonight’s State of the Union address will report the condition of the nation and allow the president to outline his legislative addenda. In addition, it will take on a social media twist, as the White House team seeks to extend its reach into online conversations.
As discussed in last week’s blog post, social media is playing a developing role in politics. As candidates seek to connect with their constituents, they are finding an increasing number of them online. The notoriously under represented age demographic at the polls is most certainly online, and the hopes that engagement and awareness will prompt them to make the step to vote encourages more politicians to expand into the social media sphere. This is of course, in addition to the multitude of middle aged Americans who are already ensconced in social media – the fastest growing segment of twitter users, both male and female is between 35-54 – and would have tweeted, posted, etc. even without the White House jumping into the conversation.
The following is a timeline of the initiatives the White House team will take regarding the State of the union:
Monday, January 23
- The White House team invites the public to submit questions on domestic and economic policy to Quora,
Tuesday, January 24
- State of the Union will stream on White House Live
- A live panel of senior White House advisors will answer questions from Twitter, Facebook and Google+ about the speech
Wednesday, January 25-Friday, January 27
- Policy experts and Obama advisors will participate in Twitter “office hours” where they’ll discuss issues asked via the #WHChat
Monday, January 30
- Obama will enter a special Google+ hangout where citizens can submit questions to the White House YouTube channel
Although the audience scale is enormous – US population last clocked in at a little over 307 million in 2009 – the lesson here is one that every communicator should learn. The necessity of following such an important speech for its entire duration can be seen in the White House team’s measures to monitor conversation, preliminarily, in real time and as a follow up. Similarly, one should treat each client’s conversation with the appropriate amount of forethought, insight and hindsight. Evaluating all aspects equals not only great results but ensures success for the future.