UofMich Graduation, Obama, and Twitter

I went home to Ann Arbor this past weekend for a grand total of 30 hours to see my sister graduate in the Big House (in case you don’t know, that’s the University of Michigan’s football stadium, which is absolutely gigantic). Security was high as President Obama was the commencement speaker and his safety is slightly important. One of the measures taken (besides not letting us use umbrellas in the pouring rain) was requiring everyone to be in the stadium by 9am, even though the ceremony didn’t start until 11am. To keep everyone occupied in the miserable two hours in between, they tried to make the ceremony interactive. Along with some performers, they had gigantic screens (useful for those sitting too far away to see Obama’s face during his speech) and during the “pre-ceremony” they had tweets from people in the stadium. Some of these were dedicated to OSU sucking, some of these were dedicated to the horrible weather, and a majority were dedicated to excitement over Obama. For a little bit it was cool, then we ran into the main problem with live Tweeting. Eventually, (an hour into the wait) people stopped tweeting. Then they had to rescroll the same tweets over and over again. I think the rush to be “hip” or whatever and incorporate tweets was a good gesture, but I’m not sure if enough people there (alumni, parents, non-students) had twitter to make it successful.

Thoughts on using twitter for more serious events?

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