Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

Despite waking up relatively early this morning, I was still a few minutes late to work, partly because I couldn’t find anything not hideously unflattering to wear, and partly because I couldn’t tear myself away from the Today Show’s ridiculous coverage of the Obamas. They’re late to church! Michelle’s wearing lemon meringue! I love hard news in the morning.

But when I finally settled into my cube, I read a heartening e-mail from one of my manger-level co-workers. He had sent a link to the Facebook/CNN.com live stream of the day’s events to our whole team. Because we’re “Internet marketers,” it was practically my duty to check it out... (I know I complain a lot, but sometimes I heart my job, especially my team.)

I guess the point of the partnership was for users to sign into their Facebook accounts on CNN.com to interact with friends (through Facebook status updates) who were watching as well. And if you weren’t on Facebook, of course there was a link encouraging you to sign up. I didn’t feel like signing into my account, though, so I just read the feed of comments from random people, which were posted to the right of the video. And boy were they fascinating... someone was jealous of her mom because she was in D.C... someone else was proud to be an American, especially today... someone else was ready for 44... but sadly these insights were cut off for me by perhaps my Internet connection or some other glitch. The video was also rather spotty, although the audio was fab.

I’m guessing I didn’t miss much by not signing into my Facebook account. This Heartless Doll blogger, who I randomly found to be hilarious and also share my affinity for Hello Kitty pajama pants (!), wrote while watching with 526 of her closest friends: “All ‘Roslynne’ can manage is ‘WOW!!!!!’ and ‘Kressel’ is ‘definatly watching history,’ lest there be any question in your mind. And ‘Steve’ is watching the Golden Girls. Thanks for keeping it real, Steve.”

Instead I opened a new window to sign into Gmail, and promptly began three Gchat conversations about a myriad of provocative topics such as: how creepy the new Bachelor is; Saturday deals on shots and cheese curds; and... the historic Inauguration of Barack Obama. All while answering Outlook (work) e-mails. Of course this was during the introductory stuff—I paid attention to the swearing in and Obama’s speech. (I did!)

What an amazing thing to watch, and in such a fitting way... Because I’m in the Internet marketing game, I’ve read and spewed a lot of babble about how the Obama campaign was the first to embrace and successfully leverage social networks to spread his message and make people feel like they have a voice. While today most of those voices were overpunctuated and misspelled, it gave me great joy to see these grammatically incorrect sentiments roll off of a Facebook feed, rather than the tongue of our Commander in Chief.

Interesting that when we felt we had a voice, when we had record turnout, we didn’t vote for someone who reminds us of ourselves, charmed by their folksy talk or good ‘ole boy sense of humor: We voted for someone we can look up to, someone who inspires us to be something better. And isn't that the definition of a leader?

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