Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Everywhere and Nowhere

Today digital projectors from live feeds into university computers provided large-screen viewing of the inauguration at my workplace. The patriotically themed Humanities Core Office, complete with glass case of campaign buttons, pictured above, provided coverage from MS-NBC, while the Humanities Dean sponsored the reception I actually attended with live footage from ABC.

Of course, being a multitasker, I also supplemented my viewing experience with my trusty laptop during the event, reading Twitter feeds from DC and elsewhere and taking part in the lively rapid-fire simultaneous commentary staged through status updates on the CNN/Facebook event, where tens of thousands participated. It was interesting to read posts from friends abroad also watching the ceremony live on the Internet in London, Amsterdam, Montreal, and Perth. It brought to mind a recent article by Kazys Varnelis and Anne Friedberg called "Place: The Networking of Public Space" in Networked Publics that examines "simultaneous place" and "telecocoons" that are enabled by ubiquitous computing and other new technologies, which better represents how the inauguration was experienced in social media channels with much more depth than a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post asking the merely rhetorical question: "Can You Capture This Moment?"

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