Obama inauguration a seminal moment in social media

LONDON - Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th president of the US was covered extensively on the internet through live-streams, blogs, and by Twitter and Facebook members, in what could prove to be a seminal moment for social media.

Read Gordon's Republic blog post -- Twitter surpasses Digg as it surges on Inauguration day

Akamai Technologies, which delivers Internet video for many websites, said the inauguration was a record for them, with 7.7m people watching video streams at the same time, according to The Associated Press.

Keynote Systems, which tracks website performance, said the internet's top 40 sites slowed down by as much as 60% when the ceremony started, and many news sites saw even sharper declines in performance.

Major news outlets offered live feeds on their respective websites in what was potentially the most widely covered news event on the internet to date.

It was partly out of necessity, since many viewers were at work in front of their computers for the midday ceremony.

Obama himself set up an inauguration blog at www.pic2009.org, while his staff used Tumblr to update the blog throughout the day, including updates from the presidential ball.

US citizens also submitted photos, videos, quotes, links and blogs for the site and uploaded photographs to be considered for the official inauguration book.

Microblogging site Twitter also had an official presidential Twitter stream -- normally @barackobama, but for the inauguration it was @obamainaugural.

Current TV, the user-generated TV network co-founded by Al Gore, combined a live-stream of the event with Twitter messages or "tweets." Messages from viewers played at the bottom of both Current's broadcast and webcast.

The Yahoo!-owned photo sharing site Flickr hosted a special Inauguration 2009 group where members could add their photos throughout the day.

You could also friend "Barack Obama Inauguration" on social network Facebook and send a glass of champagne to friends in the US using the Real Drinks application on the site.