Stuck at Work? Watch the Inauguration Online

1/20/09Follow @wroush

Let’s face it, the country is not going to get much work done today between, oh, 11:14 a.m. (when the Obama family will be seated on the Capitol platform) and 12:36 p.m. (when by-then-former-President Bush’s helicopter lifts off). But if you’re at the office and you can’t catch history being made in Washington on network TV, there are plenty of sites offering live streaming coverage.

West Coast tech blog GigaOm has a great roundup today of broadband and mobile outlets covering Barack Obama’s inauguration. These include Hulu, Joost, Comcast, C-SPAN, the New York Times, and the websites of all of the major TV networks. The official Presidential Inauguration Committee will also broadcast a live video stream, with help from Microsoft (as Greg reported last week). Verizon and AT&T mobile subscribers can watch on their cell phones if they subscribe to their carriers’ video services, and iPhone owners can watch via the Ustream app.

In Boston’s local media, the CBS affiliate, WBZ-TV, has created a special high-definition Inauguration Player offering a choice of seven views. The local ABC affiliate, WCVB-TV, will also have a live video stream from Washington, as will Fox 25 News. Boston.com has an extensive multimedia package on the inauguration, including an interactive guide to today’s schedule of events.

And it promises to be a banner day for social media. CNN and Facebook are partnering to allow users to update their Facebook status messages and send comments to friends on the same page where CNN will be showing its live video stream. New York-based blogging service Tumblr is running a public blog for the Presidential Inauguration Committee where people attending the event can send pictures and comments. And thousands of people are tweeting about the inauguration on Twitter. If you want to get in on the action there, search for tags like #inaug09, #obamainaug, and #inauguration, or just check out Tweet The Inauguration, where all tweets with those tags are being aggregated.

Epilogue, 3:40 p.m., January 20, 2009: Turns out Web users smashed records for streaming-video consumption today, at least according to Cambridge, MA-based Akamai. Social-media sites also reported striking amounts of inauguration-related activity. Facebook announced that as of 1:15 p.m. Eastern time, users had posted 600,000 status updates through the CNN.com Facebook feed, averaging 4,000 updates per minute during the broadcast and peaking at 8,500 updates per minute when President Obama began his speech.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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