Recognizing the Value of Social Media: Barack Obama’s State of the Union Embraces Technology

Technology Opportunities

Tonight marks the second time President Barack Obama will speak to the nation in a State of the Union address.

While the State of the Union has typically been a conversation between the President and Congress, overtime, technology has enabled presidents to reach a wider audience—a public audience.

Previously, the public has been resigned to the position of an eavesdropper as they passively take in the speech via their television set. Sure, you could always get involved, but direct discussion of the State of the Union with the President was not a realistic option.

Today’s technology is changing that.

It’s enabling the president to expand the State of the Union address from a conversation between he and the congress to a conversation between he, the congress and the American people.

Using the Internet to make the address more accessible to all people is not new. But President Obama is taking use of the Internet to a whole new level this year. Here are some of the ways technology is being used to create a more open dialogue between the government and the people:

  • An enhanced viewing option on the White House’s website that allows you to, “see charts, graphs and other content” during a live stream of the event
  • A whole host of online events following the address that allow you to engage in the conversation and get questions answered via Facebook, Twitter and the White House website
  • A live YouTube interview of the President answering questions from the public
  • Live roundtable discussion on Facebook with White House policy experts
  • A Yahoo! Answers session with Vice President Joseph Biden answering the most popular questions posed by the public

And, who knows what the State of the Union will look like next year!

Lessons Learned

Here are some things small businesses can take away from the use of technology in this year’s State of the Union address:


Let us know how you’re breaking ground to meet consumers where they are. Have you started engaging consumers through social media? What new and exciting technology have you implemented, or are you hoping to implement, in the coming year?

If you’re a consumer, what cool things have you seen businesses do to create a relationship with you? What businesses have really got a handle on integrating social media into their brand?