All eyes on Washington

Unless you disconnect yourself today entirely from anything audio-visual, you won’t be able to miss the inauguration ceremony of incoming US President Barack Obama.

While he will become the 44th President of the United States when he takes his oath of office at 5pm GMT today, Mr Obama’s inauguration is a global event, one that will see a worldwide television audience estimated by some to be in the billions as people across the globe tune in to watch.

The peak TV audience will probably be his acceptance speech, right after he’s sworn is as the US President.

That’s what expectations are for the mainstream broadcast media.

For this inauguration, you have to add in the myriad new media channels that will play their part in enabling anyone, anywhere on this planet, to tune in to something as long as you can get a connection to the internet, whether that’s cabled, wireless or cellular, and whether you’re in a fixed place or on the move.

And it’s not only passive consumption, either (although you can do that if you want: just sit in front of your TV set), as you can add your voice and opinion to the millions of others who’ll be doing exactly the same via blogs, video, audio, Twitter, you name it – if it’s online and you can publish to it, you’ll be part of the conversation.

You’ve got plenty of advice and suggestions on where to connect today if you want to join in with things online, wherever in the world you happen to be.

Me? I’ll probably watch the actual ceremony live, as it happens, on BBC1. You just can’t beat the Beeb for its coverage of events like this, even when it’s happening on the home turf of broadcasters like CBS, ABC, NBC, C-SPAN and CNN.

In a true test of multi-tasking, I plan also to take a look at Livestation which aggregates TV channels like Al-Jazeera, Deutsche Welle and Russia Today, so I can get a perspective on how broadcasters in different countries are focusing their coverage.

I’ll also keep an eye on Joost and maybe the live video stream on the Presidential Inauguration Committee site.

And I really want to try out the new Ustream.tv streaming video app for the iPhone.

For real participation, though, it may well be that Twitter is the place to be.

I’ll be keeping an eye on various Twitter content, especially @obamainaugural. Maybe a good place to be will be “Current Twitters the Inauguration,” a collaboration between Current and Twitter where you tweet, they’ll broadcast, live from 4:30pm GMT.

Whatever you do and however you take part, today will clearly be a very special day in more ways than just one.

You should have no problem when your children ask you, “Daddy, what did you do on Inauguration Day?”

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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