A couple hours ago, the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws at the University of Michigan, and spoke there to the assembled graduating class of 2010. Innumerable people will talk about the actual content of the speech and event. I want to talk about the technologies.
As soon as this was announced, I was asked to enquire about an online stream and arranging a viewing party in Second Life. To make a very long story very short, this actually worked out.
The Second Life viewing party had people come and go throughout various portions of the commencement ceremonies. Because the available stream was not available in QuickTime, the Second Life event used the SL2 viewer which supports “Media On a Prim,” also known as MOaP. This allows a real time interactive viewing of live web pages within the virtual world. We had a couple small snafus early on when people accidentally changed the viewing screen for the entire audience not realizing that everyone was looking at the same thing. Being a Second Life event, we also provided “Freebies” which included Obama swag, UMich swag, and educational materials on early American history (links for these resources at the end of this post). The host (your truly) also tracked the Twitter conversations on the event, posting questions and comments from the Second Life audience in the Twitter streams, and posting answers and replies from the Twitter audience back to the Second Life audience. Many of the people commenting via Twitter were using mobile devices to tweet from the actual real life audience, sharing information and perspectives that were not captured by the cameras. In addition, we saw on camera many of the notables on the stage taking advantage of their closeness to the POTUS to snap photos with small digital cameras. (Can you see the digital camera in James Duderstadt’s hands as he checks out his photos?)
After the event was completed (and I had lunch), I gathered the Twitter streams from the two hashtags (#ObamaA2 and #UMGrad10), merged them and cleaned the resulting file slightly. Can you believe it? 50 pages of plain text tweets!
AnnArbor.com: Text of President Barack Obama’s Speech at the University of Michigan: http://www.annarbor.com/news/text-of-president-barack-obamas-speech-at-university-of-michigan-commencement/
Highlighted Resources in Freebie Package for Second Life Audience
Hail to the Chief! Presidential Visits to the University of Michigan: http://www.umich.edu/whitehouse/
NARA/Archives Resources Highlighted:
Library of Congress Resources Highlighted: