Web users all a Twitter during inauguration

It's not an inauguration without Tweets. And Tweet they did.

Live coverage of U.S. President Barack Obama's inauguration on myriad of television stations and Web sites Tuesday wasn't enough for Twitter users. They had at least four channels of live commentary running throughout the day.

Dozens of Twitter users also provided their own perspectives, with some of them apparently at the inaugural events. The most popular inauguration Twitter channel, #inaug09, had more than 1,500 Twitter messages, or Tweets, posted between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday, long after the major inauguration events had passed. Twitter reported that some users were experiencing "very slow load times" at about noon Tuesday, when Obama was about to take the oath of office.

Over at #inaug, things moved a little slower, but there was still a lot going on, with some people taking shots at outgoing President George Bush. There didn't seem to be a lot of Bush fans Twittering -- it was kind of a national stream of consciousness, minus Republicans.

7:34 a.m. Tuesday: dwhite21787 says, "Pity it's so cold. 2M people mooning Bush as he flies off would be spectacular."

About 11 a.m., kate_the_great: "I wonder what Bush and Obama are talking about in the limo right now. Fly fishing? Good DC restaurants? Raising daughters?"

About 11:30 a.m., noreaster: "I doubt I will ever be [in] a crowd like this again."

About 11:30, crazywanda: "Need a doctor in blue section some1 passed out ppl yelling for medic."

About 11:30, rashbre: "the white sided removal vans create interesting photoshop opportunities." (Bush's belongings were being loaded into vans at the White House.)

About 11:45, starweaver: "Okay tears are coming now."

About 11:45, iamthelovejoy: "Heart is so full of love and possibility. I love you." (We're not sure whom that was directed at.)

Noon: The Change.gov Twitter feed makes a big change. "This is the @robotchampion, thanks for following @change_gov, I am now switching the feed to @whitehouse_gov and updating the feeds to match."

At the same time, the WhiteHouse.gov site transitioned from Bush's version to Obama's version. Obama's WhiteHouse.gov looks a lot like the old change.gov, which was the transition Web site for Obama and now-Vice President Joseph Biden, complete with a blog feed and pool reports filed by the press.

Shortly after noon, back on #inaug, waynema: "Obama: 'Um ... line?' " (Obama seemed to stumble over the oath of office, although that may have been because Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, who administered the oath, said part of it in the wrong order.)

A couple of minutes later, thembc: "Omg omg omg omg!!! OBAMA!! Barack Hussein Obama, 44th prez of the USA. (Did you hear him stutter? Yikes!)"

And, trint99: "Dude. Seriously? You didn't practice the oath of office? God help us if Bronco has to speak to the world sans teleprompter."

During Obama's speech, Xtel: "President Obama: 'Our collective failure to make hard choices...' Wow, he's not afraid to speak the truth!"

Also during speech, ampalm: "You can hear a pin drop in my section. People even stopped hopping around to keep warm."

Around the same time, Jaxthatgirl: "watch the #inaug w/2-yr old nephew - his reply to the event ' I want a cookie.'"

And, trint99: "I didn't hear any punchy one-liner. 'Ask not...' '...fear itself.' He's been president for 10 minutes and I'm already disappointed." (Referring to the enduring lines from, respectively, John F. Kennedy's Jan. 20, 1961, inaugural speech, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's March 4, 1944, first inaugural speech, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.")

There was also a lot of commentary on poet Elizabeth Alexander's inauguration poem:

SWB: "Who hired that poet?"

Neilphillips: "the poem strikes me as one of those ones where the first letter of each word 'adds up' to 'Mr President' or something."

Dianamarie: "I'm just not a poetry kind of gal I guess."

Marisa_exter: "I'm feeling actually touched by a poem."

Gareeves seemed to sum up a lot of peoples' perspectives on the event: "It feels like the world is standing still."

The tweeting about the inauguration went on through the night.

About midnight: digitalsista: "have video of wyclef [playing] the guitar w/his tongue."

About 3 a.m. on #inaug09, brettwise: "Finally back from the inauguration. 1200 miles in 24 hours. 20 hours on the road and 4 in DC. I can't believe we just did that."

About 3 a.m., jonhickman: "#inaug09 gave me weird dreams: front row at prince william's coronation, sent home for wearing shorts and flip flops."

About 4 a.m., tenticketthrill: "i admire those who braved the cold 'til the end during #inaug09. my toes are still cold."

And finally, about 6 a.m. Wednesday, socialtechno: "Such a lot of positive feeling everywhere after Obama's inauguration. I really hope we can make it last."

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service
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