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The State of the Union – We’re Doomed!

Scott Bannon Posted by Scott Bannon

Yes, we’re doomed, and it may just be Steve Jobs’s fault.

Like many of my fellow news and political junkie friends, I watched President Obama give his State of the Union Address last night with my eyes and ears focused on every syllable he uttered. I watched for every scripted, “spontaneous applause” moment. I counted the number of times that he received a standing ovation, and also how many of those were partisan ovations and how many were bipartisan.

And like many of my peers I was simultaneously on Twitter, exchanging tweets about the text and subtext of the President’s words, as well as a few quick-witted remarks on parts of the speech or people’s actions and reactions in the hall.

And through the hour and a half speech I realized that many of the people I follow on Twitter weren’t tweeting about the State of the Union with me and others, but rather continuing their all-day love affairs with Apple’s launch of the newest “must have” gadget, the Ipad.

That wasn’t too surprising to me, after all I am a part-time Geek and follow a lot of folks from the Tech community on Twitter, and it’s understandable to me that some of them were more captivated by Jobs’s speech yesterday than they could be over Obama’s.

But as the State of the Union Address was ending, I noticed in Twitter’s sidebar–where Twitter displays the top trending topics being discussed on the network in real time–that Apple’s iPad held 4 of the top 5 spots in the United States, with the lone exception being “now that’s ghetto”, and including a #1 seed for a parody of the iPad being discussed, the iTampon.

U.S. trending Twitter topics as State of the Union Address ended

U.S. trending Twitter topics as State of the Union Address ended

Could it really be that outside of my small circle nobody was really watching or discussing such an important event in our nation? I even felt the need to tweet about it in the moment; nobody watching bothered to respond.

A tweet of concern...

A tweet of astonishment...

Twitter also allows you to see what topics are “hot” among their global users in addition to just among U.S. users of the service, so I switched my view to see what was being discussed around the world at that moment, and there I found that 4 of the top 5 trending topics were all about the State of the Union Address, with the lone exception being “now playing”.

World-wide trending Twitter topics as State of the Union Address ended

World-wide trending Twitter topics as State of the Union Address ended

So obviously lots of people felt that the speech, goals, and plans being set forth by our President were important enough to watch and discuss, unfortunately it appears most of those people don’t live in the United States however.

From this snapshot of real-time data, all I could deduce is that it’s Steve Jobs’s fault, and until he creates the iDemocracy it seems that we Americans will refuse to care enough to self govern as our Founding Fathers intended us to.

There’s plenty that’s wrong and broken in America right now, and lots of reason to be frustrated and disgusted by Washington politics. But a government that’s designed to be of the people and for the people will never work better so long as it’s ignored by the people.

I’m not sure if it would be more productive to challenge Americans to become more concerned and involved, or just challenge Steve Jobs to fix it for us. What I am sure of is that so long as so many of us continue to sit in the bleachers rather than participate the State of the Union will not truly be strong.

Technorati Tags: President Obama, State of the Union, twitter

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