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Citizen Engagement, Mobile Government

Social Tools Increase Interactivity of Obama’s Speech

For the first time, the White House in the US is using social media tools extensively to engage and interact with citizens during and after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on 13 February.


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The State of the Union speech, an annual address by the American president about the condition of the nation and plans for the future, will be broadcast live on the White House website and mobile app, as well as the White House pages on social networks such as YouTube, Google + and Facebook.

The White House has also launched a Citizen Response tool on its website. Users can view a text version of the President’s speech, highlight section relevant to them, and explain how they’re connected to the issue raised. These explanations can be submitted for the White House to understand the perspectives of the people.

In addition, 100 social media followers of the White House were selected to attend a White House Social event, to watch the speech live from the White House and participate in a panel discussion with administration officials about the issues raised in the speech. Over 2000 members of Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest applied to participate in the session. Citizens can also engage with officials and the event participants using the hashtag #WHChat on Twitter after the speech.

These engagement efforts continue for the rest of the week. President Obama will hold a ‘Fireside Hangout’ – a virtual video conversation on Google + - to discuss the State of the Union address and answer questions from Americans across the country. The public can submit questions and vote for their favourite questions on the White House YouTube channel, and watch the hangout live on the White House website, Google + page and YouTube channel.

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