Facebook and CNN Seek Another Home Run for State of the Union Coverage

CNN’s partnership with Facebook worked really well for President Obama’s inauguration, so the two are back at it for the coverage of President Obama’s State of the Union coverage and President Obama’s Address to Congress. In the same way live coverage was supplemented with Facebook users’ streaming status updates during the inauguration, so too will Facebook users have the combined and social experience for the State of the Union. RSVP here.

Facebook users’ status updates will be displayed on CNN.com’s streaming coverage of the State of the Nation address tonight, which takes advantage of Facebook Connect for linking these two services together. Viewers with Facebook accounts that would like to participate will be able to update their Facebook status directly from CNN.com while watching the broadcaster’s live coverage. These participants will also be able to view their friends’ updates as well.

This is, of course, a very social way in which users can have a shared experience that was normally reserved for in-person get-togethers or more passive forms of communication. The partnership also exhibits a great way in which both broadcasters in the media space as well as Facebook can leverage status updates to promote such a shared experience. Those users that are not directly participating in the live viewing or status updates can still stay abreast of tonight’s event by viewing the status updates of their friends and other Facebook users.

This isn’t entirely different from the citizen journalism aspects of Twitter, where you can stay on top of the news without having to leave Twitter’s community. But the difference between Twitter and Facebook is Facebook’s partnership with CNN, turning a live streaming event into a direct application of sharing one’s user experience. The combining of the event with the status updates is one of the reasons why Facebook’s partnership with CNN for President Obama’s inauguration was more popular than Twitter’s coverage, astounding many despite Facebook’s large user base.

The continued efforts towards creating lasting partnerships between Facebook and media companies like CNN also indicates Facebook’s dedication towards creating more partnerships or further integrating brands into the user experience within Facebook. I’m sure we’ll see more partnerships of this caliber for Facebook, along with other direct branding efforts from CNN and similar companies.