by Walter Brasch
American Reporter Correspondent
January 1, 2009
THE $6 MILLION SOCIAL WORKER
WASHINGTON -- A social media site called LINK-Live, based on the Obama campaign 's Web outreach, plans to bring Inauguration Day ceremonies into the homes of millions around the world.
The LINK-Live Presidential Inaugural Gala will take place at the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, January 20, with something new in store this year: a social media platform.
The upcoming Presidential Inauguration has already generated unprecedented levels of excitement among Americans. More than four million people plan to travel to the nation's capital, but many more will be unable make the trip. LINK-live allows access and coverage of the celebrations and ceremonies, and through social media those at home won't just observe but can also be involved with the events.
In partnership with Mobilize.org, a nonprofit working to increase political participation among young citizens, the LINK-Live team has created a web platform utilizing a comprehensive set of social media tools, from microblogging services such as Twitter to video communities like YouTube and Ustream.tv.
"We are virtually uniting the country in a way that has never before been possible," said Christina Gagnier Chief Information Officer of Mobilize.org.
The LINK-Live website (www.linklive.org) welcomes all to participate in the conversations building up to the inauguration. Then, on January 19th and 20th, users can watch streaming video from events in D.C. and other cities throughout the country. They can read live blogs, view photostreams, and chat with their fellow citizens.
Social media offers what old media cannot: involvement. Instead of passive consumption, citizens are actively engaged. Those at home can watch the events, listen to speakers, and then discuss with each other (and with the LINK-Live team) their hopes, concerns and opinions about the events themselves - and the incoming and outgoing Administrations.
During the election season, the Obama campaign demonstrated how powerful social media can be as a tool to engage citizens. In the same way that Obama's campaign used their social media platforms to draw attention and support from anyone with access to the internet, the LINK-Live Gala hopes to inspire those at home to take part directly in the celebration.
The interactive, technology-rich experience will demonstrate how technology can improve and support humanity in four areas - Life, Information, Nature and Knowledge (LINK.) The Gala is being hosted by the Link Americas Foundation, the Alliance for Public Technology, the Children's Partnership, the Education Development Center, and the George Lucas Educational Foundation - Edutopia.
"We have created a multi-generational social portal the supports President-elect Obama's vision 'to use the immense transformative power of technology and innovation to improve the lives of all Americans,'" said Brenda Kempster, president of the Kempster Group, the production company for the LINK-Live Gala. "Through a collaborative partnership with Mobilize.org and other organizations, LINK-Live is bringing communities, people and cultures together and creating a platfom for an open exchange of ideas and ideals about our country's future."
The Kempster Group is a consulting firm specializing in building strategic alliances for clients focused on information and communication technologies, digital literacy, telecommunications, education, and international marketing. Mobilize.org is an all-partisan network dedicated to educating, empowering and energizing Millennials to increase civic engagement and political participation.
To join the LINK-Live network, follow the team on www.twitter.com/linklive and use the tag #linklive2009. There is also a group on Facebook and numerous social bookmarking options on www.linklive.org.
Benjamin Perkins is the communications director for Realpolitech, a technology and communications firm working with the LINK-Live Gala. He lives in Santa Monica, Calif.