Social Tools Meet Obama's State Of Union Address

Feb 11, 2013 (10:02 AM EST)

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10 Social Networks For Special Interests
10 Social Networks For Special Interests
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The White House is going social for the 2013 State of the Union address. When President Obama speaks to the nation Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST, the public will get to participate in various ways using government-created online and mobile tools.

The President's address will be streamed live on, in addition to YouTube, Google+, Hulu, Facebook, Ustream and the White House mobile app. An enhanced version of the speech will offer viewers charts, statistics and other information while it's in progress. Last year's enhanced speech received nearly three million views on YouTube.

Viewers can join the discussion during the State of the Union address on Twitter using the hashtag #SOTU. When President Obama finishes speaking, a Citizen Response tool will let viewers highlight a passage from the address and explain how they're connected to the issue.

Another major component of the social media push is #WHSocial, a contest that selected 100 Twitter, Facebook and Google+ users from a pool 2,000 applicants to fly to Washington, D.C. and participate in a panel discussion. That panel will be broadcast after the speech. Others will be able to participate using #WHChat on Twitter, or by posting questions to the White House Facebook and Google+ pages.

[ Looking for new tools to improve your health? See 10 Mobile Health Apps From Uncle Sam. ]

On Thursday, Google+ will host a Fireside Hangout, a virtual conversation between the president and the public about U.S. issues and policies.

The White House has been rigorously marketing the 2013 State of the Union address to get viewers to tune in. A promotional video on YouTube and the official White House website spotlights the social media components and the online-only enhanced version, which the video claims is "the best way" to watch the speech.

The move is part of the White House's Digital Government Strategy, introduced by Obama in May 2012. It calls for building a "21st century platform" to deliver digital services to the public. Federal agencies have been moving in this direction by launching mobile apps, such as the White House app, for Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry operating systems.

Mobile applications are the new way to extend government information and services to on-the-go citizens and employees. Also in the new, all-digital Anytime, Anywhere issue of InformationWeek Government: A new initiative aims to shift the 17-member Intelligence Community from agency-specific IT silos to an enterprise environment of shared systems and services. (Free registration required.)