A Twitter-Eye View of Inauguration Weekend


From pre-inaugural parties to post-inaugural traffic jams, Washington Bureau Chief Jane Sasseen Twitters the start of the Obama Administration

The 2008 election will be remembered in part as the first in which online social media—blogs, Facebook and MySpace pages, YouTube videos, and Twitter—played a big role in selecting a President. The connected nature of the electorate was driven home by the flurry of messages posted by the more than 2 million people who packed the capital on Jan. 20 to witness the swearing-in of Barack Obama. Here's one account of the festivities, by BusinessWeek Washington Bureau Chief Jane Sasseen, who launched her Twitter account just in time to post thoughts on everything from the pre-inaugural parties to the post-inauguration traffic jams. The posts start with the most recent, which went out from Sasseen's BlackBerry (hence, the Twitterberry name) at 4:10 p.m. ET.

Nice day for a stroll. Amazing Secret Service let them out. Tech folks are all up in arms that they won't let him keep his bberry. #inaug09 4:10 p.m. from TwitterBerry

Inside Williard with CCIA (tech lobby) waiting for parade. There's heat,food, and much joy that BO cited univ. broadband in speech.#inaug09 36 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

Sad news about Senator Kennedy marring this otherwise beautiful day. about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

O.K., warm enough to go back out. Law firms, lobbyists along Pennsylvania Avenue are hosting parade-watching parties. Going to hit a couple. #inaug09 about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Back in the office with a nice hot bowl of Italian Wedding Soup. I want to pour it over my toes. #inaug09 about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Double props to Beth and Carol for getting me hand and feet warmers. And triple props to inventor of those packets. Everyone had em #inaug09 about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Props to DC Metro. Doing a great job getting hordes of people out of here. Sitting in a half-full car already, heading downtown. #Inaug09 about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Big cheer rising from crowd as President Bush flies away in helicopter. #inaug09 about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Now comes the hardest part-getting out of here in this crowd. #inaug09 about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

People are breaking out dancing up by the viewing stands. Happiness—or just the need to move their frozen bones? Bit of both I bet. #inaug09 about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

If the end of the benediction doesn't signal a very different tone and changed rhetoric in DC, don't know what does. #inaug09 about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Great line: A man whose father 60 years ago would not have been served in city's restaurants can rise to take the most sacred oath #inaug09 about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Biggest cheer for line "We reject as false choice between our safety and our ideals." Much more than for economic section. #inaug09 about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

He's definitely not cutting back on his ambitions. Setting out a huge agenda—and huge expectations for himself. #inaug09 about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Wonder what it's like for Bush to listen to Obama listing out all the problems he says he's left behind. #inaug09 about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

God, the younger daughter is cute. She does love to wave. #inaug09 about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

It's really happening. #inaug09 about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Lots of shout-outs for Aretha. #inaug09 about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Obama's kids just came in. Can't imagine what it's like for them. Wonder what he's doing now? People keep saying it's almost surreal. #inaug09 about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Turned out a great day here—fears of snow unfounded. But very, very cold and crisp. Capitol looks great—flags, bunting against clear blue sky. #inaug09 about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Senators Snowe, Boxer, Dodd, Murkowsky—and Landrieu, Bingaman and Harkin are leaning over the balcony, gawking at the crowd on the mall. #inaug09 about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Jay Z and Beyoncé just walked by. As everyone turned to take their pix, Beyoncé grabbed her camera and took pix of the Capitol. #inaug09 about 6 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Just heard a woman was struck on subway, further gumming up traffic. #inaug09 about 6 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Looking back down the mall now. Looks packed all the way down to Wash Monument. Hard to imagine giving a speech out to this crowd. #inaug09 about 7 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Standing in front of Capitol about 500 yards from where Obama will be speaking. Flags and bunting are pretty impressive. #inaug09 about 7 hours ago from TwitterBerry

We're being herded in like sheep. #inaug09 about 7 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Inside Rayburn Building going thru press security. Inside and warm is the key. Wish line was bit longer—an hour's worth, say. #inaug09 about 7 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Capitol South Metro escalator broken. Crowd still good natured. Chanting 'Na na na na, na na na na; hey hey, good bye' as hiking up. #inaug09 about 7 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Heading out now for Mall. Wonder how bad it is yet. Oops, this didn't send. Answer: It's bad. Very bad already. #inaug09 about 8 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Heading out now for Mall. Wonder how bad it is yet. #inaug09 about 9 hours ago from TwitterBerry

People are heading out of the HuffPo party into the Hip Hop a block away. Very good looking, very well dressed people, in any case. #inaug09 about 15 hours ago from TwitterBerry

HuffPo coat line is scary. I dread the wait for a cab outside. #inaug09 about 15 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Others spotted; Austan Goolsbee, BO econ adviser; Ken Mehlman, ex GOP head;a VERY long-haired guy ex Allman Bros. Defin not a wonk. #inaug09 about 16 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Odd mix—poeple snapping pix of celebs like Jessica Alba and DC types ignoring Sting to talk shop. He's basically background music. #inaug09 about 16 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Sting is on. Andy Stern has come from SEIU party. "I'm going to cry all day 2morrow" he says. He's in BO's viewing stand for parade. #inaug09 about 16 hours ago from TwitterBerry

They're counting down the seconds to the new year. People are wearing funny hats and blowing horns. Much shouting and screaming now. #inaug09 about 17 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Newseum is a great space, but boy are acoustics bad. Will.i.M is singing: "it's a new day" but u can barely make out what he's doing. #inaug09 about 17 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Just got in to HuffpP party. Governor Kathleen Sebelius just walked out. Woman who grabbed my cab said Sting is about to come on. #inaug0 09 about 17 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Horrendous traffic all around town. Headed for HuffPo at Newseum. Great new building. The big party 2nite. If I can ever get there. #inaug09 about 17 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Music is loud, club is packed, and line is long. Great sense of victory inside—folks feel like they definitely won this election. #inaug09 about 17 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Way different vibe at SEIU. Speaker just gave a rousing call to action—"Change we need has just begun." #inaug09 about 18 hours ago from TwitterBerry

4 cabs with lights on have passed me by. What's wrong with drivers here? A radical notion: turn off the light when on a radio call. #inaug09 about 18 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Looking for a phantom cab to go to SEIU in Georgetown. Take back all I said about it not being cold. We're all gona die 2moro. #inaug09 about 18 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Home to change for SEIU party. Andy Stern's union, big player in new Dem DC. We wrote about him in our current cover. Then HuffPo do #inaug09 about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

They're booting us quickly out of restaurant. (zaytinya, great Spanish food near W House). Never seen dinner service go up so fast. #inaug09 about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Good chat w/CEO of Noxilizer. "Too many do what they're second-best at. I don't look at résumés. I ask what their passions are." #inaug09 about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

The ball gowns are coming out—as is the wonk talk. Energy policy was THE issue at BPC—esp w/all the consultants/lobbyists there. #inaug09 about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Off to Bipartisan Policy Center do. Daschle (now Obama health guru) and ex-Senators on health care etc. Substance amid parties! #inaug09 about 22 hours ago from TwitterBerry

It's not as cold out as expected. Hope it holds for tomorrow. #inaug09 12:08 PM yesterday from TwitterBerry

Walking on Penn Ave to get tix for Recording Industry party, one of big "non-official" galas 2moro. Lots of giddy energy on street. #inaug09 12:01 PM yesterday from TwitterBerry

Checking out the Willard, a 19th C hotel steps from W House. Had heard parties were way off this yr. Not true. They're booked up. #inaug09 11:41 AM yesterday from TwitterBerry

New Virginia Senator Warner warns at NAM that biz community better deal with anger over exec pay or it will see legislation that's far worse. #inaug09 11:23 AM yesterday from TwitterBerry

30 robed singers just ran by NAM lunch to one next door honoring MLKing. Singing We Shall Overcome. It's beautful—fills the lobby. #inaug09 11:16 AM yesterday from TwitterBerry

VA Sen Mark Warner taking to manufacturers on competitiveness. US needs strategy: can't lose sight of that amid stimulus debate. #inaug09 10:30 AM yesterday from TwitterBerry

Ex Mich Gov John Engler, pres. of NAM, is giving opening remarks as a choir practices in room next door. Too many events in hotel. #inaug09 10:04 AM yesterday from TwitterBerry

Off to Manufacturers' lunch now. They had a gala last night but wouldn't let me. Wonder why?? 9:07 AM yesterday from TwitterBerry

Man, prepping for parties is hard work. Starting with Nat Assoc of Manuf. lunch, ending with SEIU, HuffPo galas, more in between. #inaug09 7:08 AM yesterday from TwitterBerry

Heading downtown after running a few errands in prep for tonight. Last night was a mob on the Mall. Wonder how bad it will be today. 7:02 AM yesterday from TwitterBerry

Barney hasn't shown. Hillary Rosen and Andy Tobias are the big draws, plus Jennifer Beals of Showtime's The L Word. No housing policy discussed. 9:11 PM Jan 18th from TwitterBerry

Guy just walked in in a tux. Just left the Barney Frank event. Says more people are at the Obama event. They're waiting for Frank to show up. 8:54 PM Jan 18th from TwitterBerry

Oops, got that wrong. At the Obama gay staffers' party with my friend Jill Harris who ran early voting in Ohio. No B Frank in sight. #inaug09 8:40 PM Jan 18th from TwitterBerry

Feels like a train station in the south of France in July. Including more backpackers than I've seen since my own long-gone Eurail Pass days. 3:37 PM Jan 18th from TwitterBerry

At Union Station in DC. Limo drivers with signs are here for people, like at airport. Never seen that here before. Place is packed. #inaug09 3:28 PM Jan 18th from TwitterBerry

Reading a great profile of Barney Frank from Jan 12 New Yorker in preparation for 'People's Inaugural LGBT' event tonight in his honor. 2:52 PM Jan 18th from TwitterBerry

Just talked to friends driving from NY to DC. Traffic much better than expected. Are people staying home cuz of cold and crowds? #inaug09 12:50 PM Jan 18th from TwitterBerry

Have never seen the NY-DC train so crowded. Another leaves in 10 mins. "All aboard the route to the inauguration," conductor is saying. 12:11 PM Jan 18th from TwitterBerry

Headed for Penn Station now for the 3 PM to DC. It's usually empty. Wonder what it's like today? 11:50 AM Jan 18th from TwitterBerry

Three hours at Saks, and now I have clothes for three night of balls. Thanks to Tom and Cynthia, who became my personal shoppers. 5:06 PM Jan 17th from TwitterBerry

In NYC, where we closed our big inaugural issue this week. Now figuring out clothes for all the DC events. Men have it so much easier! 1:15 PM Jan 17th from TwitterBerry

@prdude hawaii and google for now but looking for more. What' interesting?? Where else shud I go? What other good events shud I hit? 9:42 PM Jan 16th from TwitterBerry in reply to prdude

Just updated photo; thanks to BW photo wiz Andrew Popper for taking my pic today. 6:03 PM Jan 16th from web

Testing TwitterBerry from my BlackBerry 3:39 PM Jan 16th from TwitterBerry

Hi everyone, here it is: my inaugural and pre-inauguration first tweet. 2:02 PM Jan 16th from Web


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