Twitter’s Reaction To: SOTU

The SOTU made a lot of noise on twitter last night, especially King Obama’s one-liners. I’m not gonna lie I meant to watch it but I don’t have cable in the crib & I was too tired to drive to a friend’s house, so im gonna focus more on Twitter’s reaction than the actual speech.

It has been interesting for me to see the shift of perspectives on President Obama’s presidency over the years, and this was also present last night as Twitter watched the SOTU. Many people felt disappointed that our President did not address the growing racial tensions in this country. A lot of “Black Twitter” wanted to hear him explicitly say “Black Lives Matter”, and were disappointed in the speech.

I feel them on that. It would be dope if we lived in a world where “black issues” were considered human issues as well. I don’t really understand the whole ‘he’s the president, not the ‘Black People President’” train of thought. Like, why do our issues matter less than issues that affect mostly white people’s?

However, unfortunately we don’t live in that world, so I understand our presidents choice to take the more “safe” route. I also don’t think that’s something he “had” to do, as he doesn’t have to fight for re-election anymore. I saw both perspectives on Twitter last night.

I’ve been on Black Twitter since I was fifteen years old, so I kind of know what to expect by now. The reactions didn’t really surprise me that much. I kinda knew people were gonna find what’s “#problematic” and just in general not be pleased. Not to say that these concerns aren’t warranted, they’re just also….expected. What I will say is that I saw a few people saying that King Obama made it cool to watch the SOTU, which I haven’t seen before.

I just hope next year I have some cable!

Yes We Didn’t

I hardly ever watch State of the Union addresses because I like most Americans and arguably most Back Americans feel disillusioned with the American Dream, the belief of equal opportunity which is at the core of the American pulse and identity. While politics are central to the “stability” of lie here within the United States I largely believe the politicians do not necessarily advance the cause of the people because the nature of politics is so divisive, polarizing, and association based.

Empty promises or selling a dream are phrases and sayings that come to mind when I think of U.S. politics and that has been the general consensus regarding the content of Barrack Obama’s latest State of the Union. Initially all of the information I received from what he was actually saying was through Facebook, my colleagues and associates giving their real time reactions to what was being said and then came links to twitter reactions.

The large majority of the twitter reactions I did see were in response to the “bye Felicia” moment when our President made the “there are no more campaigns to run because I won them all” statement. My Facebook was largely filled with praise of the President which I believe is likely representative of how his presidency has been racialized (as most of my Facebook feed is black). However, the main criticisms that started to emerge after the production was where was the “Black Lives Matter” movement, where was the recent Boko Haram massacre in Nigeria, and most importantly where were the poor?

I am saddened that President Obama took the politically correct middle ground in race relations that has historically stagnated the growth of civil rights of African Americans within the United States. However, I am not surprised by these actions as this has been the course of U.S. politicians.  As Chris Rock said “Being the first black anything sucks” and I believe that President Obama has fell to the pressures of this realization.

#SOTU : Twitter Responds

On January 20th 2015 President Barack Obama gave his sixth State of the Union address and without a doubt twitter was all ears. With hash tags responding to the Presidents call for paid maternity leave and his series of clever quips, twitter changed who dictated the conversation and the perception of the address. In this vein twitter provided a special glimpse into the minds of many that neither CNN or Fox News cater too. I found the fact that on twitter, real people could say what struck a cord or a nerve. Regardless of weather they agreed or disagreed with the President’s policy agenda, they could articulate their opinions without the biases of the media. Often both conservative and liberal news outlets talk of public opinion—each manipulating the statistics to fit their claim—but on twitter one could see the debates happening. The complexities of the arguments were illuminated more on twitter than the slanted coverage news outlets provided afterwards. Undeniably President Barack Obama came to the State of the Union to affirm that he had no intentions to be a lame duck during the end of his terms and the memes that followed suggested that he succeeded. As President Obama spoke to a Congress with a republican majority, he provided all the charm and charisma that attracted people to him the 2008 election. However, now the landscape had shifted immensely: Republicans hold the Congress, the recession is over and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is law of the land and the media has never been more partisan. It’s these changes in the landscape that make twitter such an interesting microcosm. Many suggest that the American public is disinterested in politics and that we have never been more polarized than in this moment. I challenge that conversations on twitter suggest otherwise. Americans are not disinterested with the issues or politics, but need more than news complex can provide. Twitter allows for lived realities and an unfiltered window into the minds of the public and America had a lot to say about the #SOTU.

State of the Union 2015

As we all know, social media plays a huge role in our culture. Numerous events are quickly picked up by those who are users of social media and diverse opinions are formed. Then, these morally, factually, and culturally intertwined viewpoints are broadcasted for others to read and debate upon. On January 20th, this years State of the Union address played a prominent role on Twitter. President Barrack Obama, through charismatic gestures within his speech, attracted a lot of attention to himself and his reflection on the current state of our union. Serious debates created by differing opinions were held between typically liberal and conservative users of Twitter. Others turned to humor, but nevertheless brought attention to the address, an account by the name of Mexican Mitt Romney (@MexicanMitt) tweeted, “BTW WHEN I AM PRESIDENT ALL SPACE MISSIONS WILL BE ON BRAZZERS.” Others were just happy that young people on social media where taking the time to educate themselves about current and previous affairs throughout the Obama administration, “I don’t even care what opinion they’re voicing, I just love the fact that young individuals are investing the time to listen to #SOTU15” says @maddscook. Many users seemed to enjoy President Obama’s playful comments, such as “I know because I won both of them” regarding the election, along with the winks and smirks that he gave his crowd. Many statistics were given regarding economic growth in the United States, along with higher graduation rates and rates of students who complete college. However, along with other Twitter users, I do think it is important to remember that a partial reason why graduation rates are higher is that without a college education it has become increasingly difficult to get a decent job in our society. I believe that veterans should receive the highest quality care, and from what I have witnessed on Twitter I believe that both ends of the political spectrum can agree on that. President Obama tugged on heartstrings by bringing in the newlywed couple who had a hard time buying a home with their newborn on the way, strengthening his point and gaining sympathy for those living that way. Overall, through charisma and a positive outlook, there was a very positive response to many aspects of the State of the Union address.

State of The Union

Its not so much of a surprise anymore but when the State of the Union was discussed on Television, many people took to social media to either give their opinions or thoughts on what was said on many different levels. Twitter was the most popular of the social media sites to have discussion and the hashtag #StateOfTheUnion was used for people to share their ideas on the event. It sparked many debates and many people expressed their ideas on how Barack Obama got his message across during the speech. It created a buzz on the internet that still has some popularity today. Their were vines, tweets, memes, you name it that had bits and pieces of President Obama’s speech and it made it so obvious that social media in the modern world is so incredibly powerful. From this original debate and hashtag many other branches of topics rose from it. Obama spoke about his plan to create a way for community colleges to be free. A lot of people on social media found this hard to believe because of how taxing it would be financially for the government and how it would be possible given the amount of debt we already are in as a country. The great thing about Twitter especially is that, an argument can have so many different stances and ideas since not everybody is formed with the same opinion. Its so interesting to see because you get so many different sides of the story and so many opinions that it really challenges you to think about what you truly believe and support. Another topic that sparked a ton of interest and controversy was the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. It comes with a ton of knowledge with what happened in Ferguson and especially in the black twitter world this is something that is not taken lightly in any way shape or form as it shouldn’t be. Ideas can be formulated and people can start thinking outside of the box with the help of social media and that is why i think it is so great for us today.

State of the Union

When watching the State of the Union, I noticed how Obama used story-telling not just facts, which made the speech more compelling and relatable to viewers who are from various demographics. When talking about a new economy, he used the story about Rebecca and expressed that her story was “our” story, America’s story.  He also used the notion of togetherness. He made statements such as  “we’re in this together as Americans, through everyone’s contribution in some way.”  He mentioned Ferguson and the NYD case but framed them in a way that resonates with people on both sides of the problem, a black teenager and his parents fearing him to walk alone and a police officer’s family fearing whether he will come home alive. At the end of the speech he used that quote from Rebecca’s story to parallel it to America, which he claimed is “a strong tight-knit family that has made it through some very hard times.”

One of the most tweeted quotes from the State of the Union is “I have no more campaigns to run…I know because I won both of them.” Particularly on my twitter timeline, which is majority “Black Twitter” filled with young adults, majority ages ranging from 18-25, there were many humorous memes, with that quote from President Obama.  Some news outlets such as Wavy News 10 and PBS News tweeted that the most influential quote from the address was: “I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood, your life matters.” CNN revealed through its twitter page that this 2015 State of the Union was the first time the words “Instagram, lesbian , bisexual, and transgender were used in any State of the Union.”  I found this tweet extremely interesting. Fox News posted a tweet stating that Rebecca, the lady Obama centered his address around, was an “ex-democratic staffer,” suggesting bias on President Obama’s part.  CNN also tweeted the video of Britt Hume on the Fox news show, Kelly File, who stated , “I doubt this state of the union will be remembered very long.”  So let’s just say, everyone had their own story, opinion, and beliefs about the State of the Union.

Reactions to SOTU Address…

According to numerous publications, there were roughly 2.6 million tweets sent out over the duration of the State of the Union address.  Of those 2.6 million tweets, one of the trending topics that stood out to me was #SOTBU, State of the Black Union.  Tuning into the address, many, including myself, were anticipating the President to speak on the Black Lives Matter movement.  Not just speak on it, but make a clear declaration that he has heard the cries and frustration of the black community that currently feels like it’s been under attack.  But instead, he pulled an #AllLivesMatter stating,

            “We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York.  But surely, we can understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed. Surely, we can understand the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she      married walks through the front door at the end of his shift.”

In an effort to please those on “both sides” of the issue, Obama alienated many activists of the #BlackLivesMatter movement by simply dancing around the issue and never directly speaking on the correlations between race and policy brutality.  As much as I knew that he “couldn’t,” I wanted him to say it directly.  I needed to hear the President of the United States say to the Nation “Black Lives Matter.”  Those sentiments were also echoed by Black Twitter, where many found his “colorblind” rhetoric to be problematic as it ignored the main basis of the Movement.  To equate the fear of a black child walking down the street, to that of a police officer attending his post is false equivalence as the former is a fear based on systematic prejudice and oppression based on the color of one’s skin; while the latter is fear due to the dangerous nature of the job itself.  That’s not to say that the fear of officers and their families is not valid or okay but when a black person is killed every 28 hours at the hands of police, those two incidents are not of the same nature.  In addition, although Obama did mention talks about reforming the justice system and combating racial tensions, many activists on Twitter seemed to be pessimistic about when we will actually witness executive action making steps towards combat these issues.  Although there were a few moments that really spurred excitement on social media, i.e. Obama’s comedic one-liner, “I know because I won both,” overall, Twitter, especially Black Twitter, seemed to be rather disappointed with the President’s lack of proper acknowledgment towards the protests and unrest in the black community.

#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords

Like many political events in the modern age, the 2015 State of the Union was discussed, analyzed, and commented upon via social media – especially Twitter. Twitter users – including news outlets, activist organizations, political groups, and everyday citizens – used the hashtag “#StateofTheUnion” to discuss the president’s statements and other details of the event.

Another prominent hashtag that arose pertaining to the address, “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords,” sheds light on our current political atmosphere and how social media is influencing the way we process information. “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords” perfectly represents our society’s need in the modern era for rapid synthesization of information, consolidation of incoming news, and overall brevity.

While scrolling through the “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords” hashtag, what also became apparent was the polarization of our current political atmosphere. A majority of the tweets, though limited to only three words, were of a remarkably opinionated nature. “Yes We Did,” “Obamacare is Working,” and “Invest in America” are examples of tweets that took a positive stance on both President Obama and his State of the Union Address, while tweets such as “Out of Touch,” “Constitution Successfully Shredded,” and “I Blame Obama” demonstrate the opposing viewpoint. The “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords” hashtag was enlightening, as it showed that when forced to use only three words to describe the State of the Union Address, opinions generally trumped cold, hard facts – an arguably universal tendency of human nature that we have discussed in class.

Finally, there was a third and final group of prominent tweets that emerged in the “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords” hashtag – those of a humorous, frequently non-political nature. “Haters Gonna Hate,” “Two Terms, Baby,” and “Boehner’s Distracting Tan” are examples of how users used the hashtag to bring comic relief to a serious political event. Overall, Twitter’s response to the State of the Union address, and specifically the hashtag “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords,” reflect perfectly how social media has affected the way American society absorbs, processes, and responds to current events.

#SOTU

In President Obama’s State of the Union Address, I think he talked about progress in liberal terms and appealed to the left-wing American audience. A lot of his issues that were hot topics for discussion were the social issues, such as the acknowledgement and condemnation of the gender wage-gap, the recognition and support of lesbian and transgender people and they’re rights. I thought he didn’t nearly touch on the Ferguson/police brutality/Black Lives Matter issue enough, but then again I also don’t really expect him given the controversy Americans have made about it- it wouldn’t be “safe” for him to advocate for the movement. On social media I noticed there was a lot of conflicting posts from Conservatives and Liberals about deciphering the truth about America’s economic standing (of course); Conservatives say he’s lying about the trillions of dollars in debt we’re in (left under the legacy of the Bush admin) and that the debt is still growing, while liberals are more positive of his progressive middle-class economics and confrontation to Congress to raise the minimum wage.

Other topics that were hilarious and really popular during the SOTU are comedic commentary on verbal and body language. Obama’s fist pump comment, “I don’t have any more campaigns to run…I know because I’ve already won them both” generated a lot of attention and commentary, including in the form of memes. In addition, there were a lot of comments on Biden and Boehner’s facial expression throughout the speech, and also which audience/Congress members applauded/stood up for certain points addressed. I think this was popular because it is something that breaks the rhythm of a long speech and provides entertainment.

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Social media functions very differently from traditional media outlets which are more formal and exclusive. Social media creates spaces for informal commentary, jokes, and is more open to different languages and vernaculars. Social media is also good at capturing the attention of people who are not particularly interested in politics or who wouldn’t normally watch the SOTU Address, where as traditional media is usually communicated to a particular viewership/readership.

#SOTU

People use social media, especially during times like the State of the Union Address that appeals to a collective identity, to voice their opinions, comments, and concerns in the form of a live feed. During the 2015 State of the Union Address, hash tagged #SOTU on Twitter, trending topics I thought were popular were tweets in regards to a better bipartisan politics, free community college, and #BlackLivesMatter. These three issues sparked controversy and the undeniable skepticism many Americans have when addressing social justice issues that many believe have not been given the necessary attention. The notion of bipartisanship that President Obama emphasized was a very popular topic on twitter because I think more Americans are realizing the unproductive nature of a polarized country where people feel forced to identify with a political platform with very ambiguous stances. In regards to free community college, many twitter users commented with uncertainty that a goal like this would come to fruition with concerns of how the government would pay for it acknowledging that higher education in America follows a model to increase economic capital and not really social capital. Many twitter users, especially on Black Twitter, were disappointed in the fact that one of the most important social movements happening in America, #BlackLivesMatter, was not mentioned discouraging many people to believe that we live in a post-racial society where we have to speak in politically correct language in order to appeal to the masses. It is interesting to see how traditional media integrated Twitter posts in their news coverage on TV and online news articles. Social media like Twitter can draw in a wide range of narratives and perspectives, so of course depending on the political platform that different news broadcasting stations support, the news can pick and choose which live feeds to use to support their stance or even demonize other positions.