Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Americans Stop and Listen Obama's inauguration speech affected Internet use patterns
By Stuart Fox Posted 01.21.2009 at 12:56 pm 0 Comments

Plugging In a Different Way: akeg (CC Licensed)
Sure, people said they were working during yesterday's inauguration, but the Internet tells a different tale. It seems that a large portion of Americans actually stopped working and searching the Internet while Obama was speaking, and on the flip side, Twitter and Facebook shot through the roof.

Google, on its official blog, reported a substantial drop in queries lasting from the time Obama started taking the oath of office to the end of his speech. Similarly, the Merchant Circle, a company that helps small business expand their Web presence, noted a sharp decline in Web traffic while Obama was speaking.

But while Americans seemed to turn away from business, they turned towards social networks. Twitter reported five times as many tweets per second during Obama's swearing in than the service usually records. This led to delays of up to five minutes, an eternity for a service used to delivering content in seconds. Facebook also saw a huge jump in use, reporting 4,000 status updates a minute during Obama's speech.

The inauguration was also a boon for streaming video, the viewing of which reached its highest level ever during the speech. For some cable carriers, Internet traffic spiked by over 400 percent during the event, easily topping the record set last year during the US Open.

Once Obama finished his speech, and the poet Elizabeth Alexander began speaking, the traffic returned to normal. This, combined with footage of the crowds attempting to leave the Mall while Alexander spoke gave the impression that the poet was not as well received as the president. However, that may not be the case. According to data provided by spokesperson Sally Fouts, Alexander's work, "Praise Song for the Day: A Poem for Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration", jumped 2,878 precent in sales rank to 369, up from 10,990 earlier in the day.

So that's what everyone did once they got back to work from watching the inauguration: they all started buying Obama-related merchandise.

It is interesting to see that there is such an interest and so much support for the new president. I can only hope the same for Canada. Why are we so passive? Why is it so hard to create change? What would I do if I was primeminister for a day? So many questions and so few answers.

One question I have about the new president is if race is not suppose to make a difference in what you can do and who you can be how come one of the most memorable facts about the new president is that he is black. I understand it is evolution and the changing from slaves to equals but that is how he is forever going to be remembered... as a colour. He has good messages and is very inspirational but it still comes down to that fact.

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