State of the Union address goes Web 2.0

White House uses Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to communicate with public

The White House will be using Web 2.0 technology to reach out to Americans during and after the president's State of the Union address tonight.

While President Barack Obama makes his annual address starting at 9 p.m. ET, the official White House Web site will have a live stream of the speech, along with charts and statistics to provide context and emphasize key points, according to the Obama administration.

"We're putting the finishing touches on a new feature for that will offer an enhanced viewer experience for President Obama's State of the Union address," wrote Macon Phillips, the White House director of new media, in a blog post. "This Enhanced SOTU feature is just one of many ways we are working to provide as much information as possible and answer your questions about the speech."

And immediately after the State of the Union address, the White House will host an Open for Questions event on Twitter . Several senior administration officials will be fielding questions submitted on the White House Facebook page , the White House Webform , or via Twitter using the @sotu hashtag and responding to @whitehouse.

On Wednesday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs will take citizens' questions via Twitter before his post-State of the Union briefing. Anyone interested can follow @PressSec on Twitter to find out when Gibbs will take questions and post video responses. To submit a question for him, respond to @PressSec using the hashtag #1Q.

At 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Obama will take questions live on YouTube. Questions may be submitted going to this site .

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Obama administration is taking advantage of social technology to get the word out.

After making good use of services like Facebook , MySpace and Twitter during his presidential campaign, Obama and his administration have been keeping up his image as a tech-savvy president by establishing a presence on a variety of social networking sites.

The White House is now on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace , and has released information on ways to get donations to the relief effort in Haiti, updates on health care reform and news about the H1N1 virus.

About a year ago, Obama sent his first tweet during a visit to the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is .

Read more about it in government in Computerworld's IT in Government Topic Center.

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