President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address tonight, and in addition to the usual televised coverage, CNN streamed the speech live through its Web site with Facebook Connect integration. Those checking out the President’s address were able to log on through their Facebook accounts to provide their own running commentary and check out posts from other Facebook users.
The live streaming on the State of the Union address was similar in nature to some of the other offerings we’ve seen from news outlets, including CNN’s coverage of Obama’s inauguration, which also featured Facebook integration. That event, almost one year ago to the day, drew 2 million updates and signaled the arrival of Facebok interaction with live events broadcast over the Web.
Obama’s Facebook fan page is currently the 4th most popular on the network, and at one time held the top position as the Facebook page with the most fans. The page now has 7.25 million fans, and while it hasn’t seen a big decline, it isn’t growing at the same rate as some of the pages it now trails.
CNN’s Web coverage of the event differed from that found on even its own television network in that it was completely without commentary or “expert” analysis.
After President Obama’s speech and the traditional Republican rebuttal delivered by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, South Carolina Senator Joe Wilson held a live video forum on his personal Facebook page. Sen. Wilson used the popular UStream service to address several key points from the Obama speech, briefly touching on everything from the expanding deficit to support for the President’s relief for Haiti. He then answered questions that had been previously sent in as well as a few posted during his rebuttal. While we don’t know what Obama’s numbers were, viewership for Wilson’s broadcast peaked at about 400, with many of those tuning in offering words of support during his presentation.