President Obama’s State of the Union: The Most Social Media Ever?

BlogHer Original Post

At a time when second-term President Obama is facing low approval ratings, tonight’s State of the Union address is becoming even more interactive online than ever. The White House website will be streaming the speech, and a team of five of the president’s top staff will be taking questions online immediately following the address. Already on WhiteHouse.gov is a video showing a behind the scenes look at what goes into preparing the speech.

If that seems a bit like reality TV, get this: Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson will be in the audience as a guest of Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.).

Here are some topics to watch out for in the State of the Union Address:

Income Inequality

A stalled economy and high unemployment are real worries for many Americans, and the President is expected to talk about income inequality as the “defining challenge of our time. “ Possible remedies include an executive order to raise the federal minimum wage.

Healthcare

With last fall’s disastrous roll out of the healthcare exchanges made available by Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”, the president has some serious public relations to do. Now that the revamped national health insurance marketplace is back online, I’d expect the President to show people how the benefits of the new system outweigh the technical glitches. The announced guests include people who have been able to get medical insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Immigration Reform

The bill that got off to a strong bipartisan start in the Senate last year, stalled out in the House. With House Republicans expected to announce their own bill soon, will Obama mention immigration in his address?

Education

As he announced early last year, the President may unveil more expanded preschool programs.

Although it’s doubtful that the President will mention one topic many public school parents are already struggling with – the implementation of Common Core Standards in many states.

Republican Rebuttal

Of course, Republicans will have a chance for their own show, with the rebuttal immediately following the President’s speech. Who can forget Marco Rubio’s awkward water bottle moment from last year?

This year, the highest ranking GOP woman in the House, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) will be delivering the response.

Watch the State of the Union

The President's speech begins at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST. Watch along online at WH.gov/SOTU.

Participate in the State of the Union

And follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #SOTU. Ask questions to the White House on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and... Vine and Instagram... using the hashtag #SOTUchat.

For a lighter take, here are several printable bingo games you can use, such as the one on The Washington Post, which includes Obama-isms, such as “Let me be clear” or reactions we’ve come to expect, such as Speaker of the House John Boehner getting a pained look on his face.

MomsRising has a bingo card with emphasis on issues facing women and families, such as squares for terms such as “Mothers” or “Moms” or “Paid Family Leave”.

President Obama

(Credit Image: © Prensa Internacional/ZUMAPRESS.com)

UPDATE: 8:19 p.m. PST, I watched the State of the Union online on the White House website, where the President's speech was streamed in a split-screen with photos and graphics that helped tell the story. There was lots of conversation on Twitter, too. Here are some tweets that recap the big moments of President Obama's speech:

What social media is saying about Cathy McMorris Rodger’s rebuttal:

And Speaker John Boehner made his own rebuttal video -- on Vine!

Did you watch the President’s speech or the Republican response? Tell us what you think, in the comments.

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about raising an Asian mixed-race family at HapaMama.

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