Presidential Inauguration A Hit With Social Media

Jessica Payne

Throngs of crowds on the mall, celebrity performances and wide speculation of Michelle Obama's designer dress may have made yesterday's Presidential Inauguration feel like 2009. But one look at social media this year (both volume and real-time behavior) and the comparisons stop there. So what resonated with the millions tuning in? Here are a few takeaways:

Twitter Captures Real-Time Reaction to Unity Message:

Despite Twitter crashing just as Inauguration Day was kicking off, millions took to the microblogging platform of choice to express their excitement in real-time.

According to the Wall Street Journal,

  • A reported 1.1 million tweets were shared during the yesterday’s ceremony, compared to just 82,392 tweets in 2009.
  • “The most viral moment of President Obama’s speech was when he said, 'We cannot mistake absolutism for principle…name calling as a substitute for debate,' elicited 27,795 tweets per minute."
  • @WhiteHouse and @ObamaInaugural both live-tweeted segments of the President’s speech including his support for LGBT equality and has since gone viral including more than 3,500 re-tweets and coverage by mainstream media.

Facebook Highlights Celebration & Personal Reflection:

While many tweeted, others took to capturing their biggest moments on Facebook, ranging from comments about the significance of Martin Luther King day to Beyonce’s flawless performance. According to Facebook:

  • ‎"Beyonce," "Kelly Clarkson," "Inauguration," "Oath," and "President Obama" are among the terms that spiked on Facebook as people shared comments about the 2013 Presidential Inauguration
  • At one point during the ceremony, mentions of Beyonce were up 42,450%, Oath up 4,580% and MLK 1,400%.
  • Yet, as the day went on, trending terms like “change,” “truth,” and “equal” demonstrate perhaps more reflection of the day’s events and sentiment of those looking ahead

Photo-Sharing First Family:

But perhaps the most talked about event happened later in the day when Malia Obama famously photo-bombed a photo Sasha Obama was taking of her parents sharing a kiss. The carefree moment, captured on camera and seen by millions, has gone viral, spawning Gawker .gif videos, meme blogs and re-tweets. The entire exchange is awkward and poignant. Here you have two children making several attempts to capture their parents trying to re-create a seemingly spontaneous moment to get that perfect shot. We’re a digital society, tethered to our smartphones and determined to get that perfect shot to share with others and make sure nothing is ever missed. This is something even the first family can relate to.

Were you following the feeds yesterday? Share your inauguration observations with us at prSPEAK.

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