Hope in the air

Washington crowd

Obamas and Bushes

19:40 As the US national anthem now rings, it’s time for me to go skiing. This has been a historical occasion, and Obama’s speech was masterful. This has been a social event, isn’t it amazing how you can feel connected just by virtue of a facebook status feed, a network of blogs, Twitter tweets, jaikus etc.

We now have the technology to do this. And this technology isn’t just a trivial toy, and the messages aren’t just spam. This is a new way of experiencing, making sense, joining in, contributing, feeling being a part of something. Social is vitally important. Interaction is essential. It’s human. It’s a challenge for us researchers, we need to learn more about these phenomena.

There’s so much power in people, so much potential in the crowd. Obama is a symbol for many things, but he is also a symbol for a new wave of democracy, grass-roots activity and enthusiasm about politics. We know from nonlinear systems that anything can happen when you get a complex enough system going. The seeds of change have now been sowed, they’ve been watered and nourished by hope, and a new warld is taking shape. Let’s get sculpting.

19:30 Wow, what a speech. The response in the Facebook feed shows it was an instant, international success. One person said she feels like she can now achieve anything. Another says how he is now again proud to be American, and yet another wished she was American.

Obama’s point in this speech was to unite people to face the new challenges. This speech was also the clearest break from the past that I remember hearing. Change, Obama’s theme, reaches from attitudes towards science to foreign policy, healthcare, equality, civic freedoms etc. And most impressively, he managed to talk about very abstract and high-flying principles without sounding artificial or clicheic. Great oration, amazing.

19:23 This speech is amazing. I’m in goosebumps. This is a momentous speech, with masterful rhetorics. New era of responsibility… Change… amazing, uplifting, unifying.

19:15 The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

I of course do realise that live blogging only makes sense if someone is listening and is at the other end of the line clicking “reload” and following the updates. There probably isn’t now, but at least I’ve now tried how this works. I’ve followed a few events live via blogs, and I’ve wondered how you can listen and write at the same time. Taking notes at lectures is hard enough.

Anyway, this isn’t so bad. But Mr President is now delivering his speech, gotta listen.

19:08 Oops, he was so nervous… then who wouldn’t be.

19:07 And here we go. History in the making.

19:00 More music, Perlman, Ma, Montero, McGill playing Williams. Again, Williams with his film music experience knows how to work with emotions.

I was wondering why this sounds so weird, but it’s because the YLE broadcast is a fraction of a second late of the CNN live webcast… 🙂

18:59 Joseph Biden’s turn first. People in the Facebook channel are very emotional. People crying, rejoicing, singing…

18:58 Aretha Franklin is SO COOL! This is so perfect for this occasion. Music choices for the concert were very well-thought, as well. Not a trivial thing.

18:55 Everyone seems to have arrived (and just look at that crowd! millions of people there) and all the dignitaries are now in their seats and the proceedings start.

I also watched a part of the concert on Sunday, and enjoyed the feeling of it. It could be that it’s just because I supported Obama in the election, but there was a tangible feeling of hope, of a new start. A sense of “yes, we can”, that seemed to be joining people regardless of this economic slump. Obamania is a social movement, it has transcended citizen Obama already, it is bigger than soon-to-be-president Obama, it’s now something, that is symbolised and inspired by that dude that at the moment listens to the prayer with his eyes closed, but which will succeed or fail not by or because of him, but because of the American people. Crowdsourcing of hope, if you will.

18:45     The inauguration of Barack Obama is now on. I’m watching it live via CNN stream. CNN has teamed up with Facebook to not only bring the event live to people, but to provide people the possibility to follow this historical event in a social group.

This is very fitting, as Obama’s campaign was very successful in mobilising people using the web and the social networks. His campaign, from the funding upwards, was and is strongly about empowering people and giving individuals hope. This is in stark contrast to the industry and big money -driven administration that Bush ran.

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