Unless you're Tim Cook, you probably don't have a front row seat lined up for President Obama's State of the Union (SOTU) address on Tuesday night. That's okay though, because the ever-more-interactive speech is best experienced online, where it will be accompanied by more context and conversation than in any other medium.
When it comes to tuning in online, this won't be anything like the Summer Olympics. There will be plenty of free livestreaming options across a variety of devices, as well as any number of social chats, on-camera analyses and interactive features from media outlets, journalists and the White House itself.
Livestreaming The State Of The Union Address
The White House will not only be live-streaming President Obama's speech Tuesday night, but it will be displaying relevant charts and data in sync with whatever the President happens to be talking about. The White House's "enhanced livestream" begins at 9pm Eastern Time (6pm Pacific Time) and will be followed by a live panel discussion with policy experts. All of this will be available on the White House's website, as well as its official iOS and Android apps.
If the White House stream freezes up right as your SOTU drinking game is just getting rowdy, you can always jump over to C-SPAN.com, which will be streaming the speech as well. On C-SPAN, you can also compare Obama's fourth State of the Union with archived addresses from the past. The C-SPAN folks have written transcripts dating back to Franklin Delano Roosevelet and archived videos as far back as Ronald Reagan's fourth State of the Union address in 1984. For even more historical analysis, check out Al Jazeera's interactive tool comparing Obama's past State of the Union speeches.
The State Of The Union Is… Interactive
These days, it's pretty much a given that any big news or entertainment event is the "most interactive" instance of that event that's ever happened. That's what progress is all about.
The State of the Union is no exception, and not just because people are increasingly connected and more prone to live-tweet TV events in general. The famously tech-savvy Obama administration has been proactive about baking interactive elements into the speech and encouraging online participation.
On Twitter, the White House has officially endorsed the #SOTU hashtag and is encouraging users to use #WHChat to submit questions to on-air policy experts after Obama's speech. The administration will also be actively maintaining conversations with citizens on Facebook and Google+.
Meanwhile, Republicans will be live-critiquing Obama's speech on the official GOP website and encouraging rank-and-file conservatives to do the same over various social channels.
Media outlets are running their own interactive features during the speech as well. Huffpost Live, for example, will be doing its usual thing, live-streaming the speech and post-speech reactions while inviting viewers to join on-air discussions and live chats.