The stats are in: for this year’s State of the Union address, 38 million people tuned-in via television and 3 million people watched the livestream. But better yet, the White House offered Twitter followers a chance to join them live in DC to watch the State of the Union Address with Administration officials and fellow ‘tweeps’.
Last Tuesday, I arrived bright and early and joined my fellow citizens at the South Gate of the White House for our public tour. From there, we went to the White House Conference Center across the street where about twenty of us were able to meet Instagram Co-Founder Mike Krieger and US Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra. I loved the energy of the team and the fact that Mike K. was asked to sit in the First Lady’s box during the State of the Union. My fellow Tweeters came from thirteen states and included a history teacher, a librarian and other media professionals.
We re-grouped at the Old Executive Building at 7:45pm for the big #WHTweetUP event. About a hundred of us sat in the second auditorium and were greeted by Macon Phillips, the White House Director of New Media. At 9pm the lights went down and the room was illuminated by at hundreds of laptops, iPads and mobile devices. It felt like I was sitting at NASA, watching a major launch.
The room was equipped with a live feed of the speech with accompanying infographics and supporting data for us to tweet out to our followers. The room was abuzz – and so was Twitter, with over 766,681 #SOTU tagged tweets. The most discussed topic was #education, which paralleled the responses in the auditorium. At the conclusion of the speech, we were joined by five top administration officials, including secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who took questions from Facebook, Twitter and Google+ along with questions from the room.
The State of the Union event took full advantage of digital and social platforms to open up the White House and engage citizens in discussions. By rewarding their most engaged followers, enabling a memorable experience and unlocking exclusive content for followers, it was a best-in-class example of building an active brand.
- Amie Green, Associate Director, Marketing, Digitas.