Watching The Inauguration With All My Facebook Friends

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There are plenty of places to watch the inauguration today online (see our guide). I’ve been clicking around, and many of the streams are jittery, as you would expect, but I find myself coming back to CNN’s live stream. The video keeps skipping on me, but at least the audio is consistent. Maybe that’s because CNN.com is serving a record number of live video streams (13.9 million live streams between 6 AM and 11:45 AM ET, versus 5.3 million on Election Day, the previous record. See update below). The big draw, however, is that CNN partnered with Facebook, and I can watch the proceedings along with comments from all my Facebook friends in the sidebar.

My friend Dimitry Leger noted that “Obama looks like a heavyweight boxer waiting to enter the ring for the big fight.” When Bush appeared Kevin Werbach, who is on the Obama transition team, commented, “crowd is singing the nanana goodbye song now.” (Scott Beale also noticed this). Loic Le Meur doesn’t like all the praying. Kevin Rose “is hoping this stream starts working…”

Watching events like these with people you know is always better than watching alone, but since most of us are at work today, Facebook serves as a proxy for a virtual living room that can hold hundreds of people. I find these comments much more interesting than random Twitters from people I don’t know. So I am going to stick with Facebook and CNN for the rest of the inauguration ceremony. (Uh-oh the stream just went completely kaput for me—at least I can still read everyone’s commentary. I’m switching to Hulu for the live video).

Update: During Obama’s speech, the comment stream was filled with everyone’s favorite quotes in real-time. (His flubbing the oath was also noticed). After the speech, some typical reactions from Netvibes founder Tariq Krim: “greatness is never given, it is earned;” and from ex-Googler Chris Sacca describing the moment as experienced in D.C., “Yes! Everyone is crying and hugging. Everyone.”

Update 2: As of 10:15 AM PST/1:15 EST today, Facebook reports:

-600,000 status updates have been posted so far through the CNN.com Live Facebook feed
-There were an average of 4,000 status updates every minute during the broadcast
-There were 8,500 status updates the minute Obama began his speech
-Obama’s page on Facebook has more than 4 million fans and more than 500,000 wall posts
-Millions of people logged into Facebook during the broadcast

And CNN served more than 18.8 million live streams between 6 AM and 1 PM EST, with a peak of 1.3 million streams just before Obama began his speech.

Update 3: Make that 21.3 million streams on CNN.com as of 3:30 PM EST and 136 million pageviews.

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