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#SOTU: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Posted: January 28, 2015, 7:15 p.m.
by Ana Vega.

We’ve seen social media run the show during sporting events, music festivals and more. It strengthens the interactions between viewers, fans and the companies they support. Last week, during the State of the Union address, the White House took its digital voice to the next level.

With the help of social media, the Obama Administration changed what used to be a single speech into a week-long event. The White House Twitter account started the conversation days before the speech and amplified it the day of the address.

Just a few hours before the president spoke to the nation, the White House account tweeted a picture of President Obama’s outfit choice. Needless to say, the post faked out all 5.75 million followers because instead of the expected tan suit shown in the tweeted picture, the president chose to wear the classic navy blue suit.

Photo Provided by @WhiteHouse
Photo Provided by @WhiteHouse

But the online buzz didn’t stop there. During the speech, President Obama mentioned he was finished with his presidential campaigns. The Republican attendees followed his comment with applause. President Obama responded to their claps with, “I know, because I won both of them.” And to no surprise, an uproar between the political parties struck all forms of social media.

Following the State of the Union, President Obama took a two-day, virtual tour via YouTube to answer questions. What better way to make the president seem like an average guy than to have him answer questions about his favorite television show, or what super power he wishes he had?

Which leads to my key question, is the combination of government and social media a helpful or hurtful approach?

First, let’s discuss the pros and cons of using social media for political reasons:

•According to Twitter, approximately 2.6 million tweets about the State of the Union were sent on Tuesday night — what a positive result.

•However, if you track #SOTU, not all tweets were sent in a serious manner. Many were sent to poke fun at the occurring events.

•And let’s not forget the feisty comments made by each political party — seriously, are we in middle school again?

Second, let’s talk about other comments made by users following the conversation:

•As I mentioned before, the fake-out outfit tweet made by @WhiteHouse caught some people off guard — immature, pointless or just clever? You tell me because I can’t figure that one out.
@ChaChi, a user who enjoys sharing his opinions with followers, tweeted a link to a Vine that was created to highlight President Obama’s comeback to the Republican applause after he said, “I have no more campaigns to run” with #SOTUBURN.

Photo Provided shoots1nscores1 (Flickr)
Photo Provided by shoots1nscores1 (Flickr)

I could go on forever about the ridiculous social media posts about the State of the Union, but I’m going to go ahead and put this one in your hands. Go follow #SOTU or #SOTUBURN on Twitter to draw your own conclusions.

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