Wednesday, 21 January 2009

A Man for Our Time - captured by multimedia

Apart from being inspired by the rhetoric and passion of President Obama yesterday, I was struck by the fact that this was the first time I had watched a huge news story unfold live using the internet. 

I was working at school, I had stuff that needed doing, and so the ideal solution was to use the BBC's live feed from BBC1 online. What struck me was how good the streaming video looked, the fact it didn't crash at all, and also that below the video window were live rolling comments from BBC correspondents and viewers.  It certainly made me feel like I was part of a global village.

I suspect that most people watched the inauguration on the TV, because frankly at this moment in time that's the best medium for such an event. But that didn't stop the various media outlets innovating in the online arena.

I particularly liked the 3D rolling panorama offered by CNN who partnered with Facebook. The technology was supplied by Microsoft's Photosynth software. The end result provides what none of the newspaper photos quite managed this morning - some idea of the scale of the event in the Washington Mall. 

Over at the BBC, technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones tried out as many ways of watching the event as he could. His report makes for interesting reading.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a great online app called You put in text, it analyses it into a word cloud - a visual representation of the text, based on the frequency of key words. Since then I've noticed it creeping into the mainstream media, and by today both the Guardian and the BBC were serving up word clouds of the President's speech, plus those of former leaders. 

So, a magnificent day for the new President and the nation he leads. An interesting glimpse too into the changing nature of media communication.

1 comment:

TesoriTrovati said...

Hi Sacha-
It really was a momentous day for our country. I had to work, but I can tell you that it seemed as if the world stopped, or rather slowed throughout the morning through the conclusion of President Obama's speech. Right after that it picked up and emails came in and phones started ringing. I did my best to keep a pulse of the happenings on my PC at work, with the NPR live audio feed, but unfortunately the streaming video was lacking. I wish I had known what you were watching! Words escape me as to how this has felt. Elation. Joy. Apprehension. Pride. Doubt. So many conflicting thoughts. Overwhelmingly positive and darn proud of my nation for electing the right person for this job. But it strikes me that when I was a girl I could aspire to be anything...but President. Now, on that day, I told my own 7 year old daughter that she really could be anything she wanted to be...including President. After all, if President Obama hadn't been the Democratic party selection, it would have been Hilary Clinton. I think she will make a darn good Secretary of State.
I still need to try that Wordle thing (couldn't download it at work). Perhaps they are finding it because of you? :-)
I knew that my own country paused to watch the history being made, but it never occurred to me that so many others around the world would be as well. It is amazing how connected we all are and perhaps we need to realize that connectedness in all that we do. Good things to ponder.
Enjoy the day!