28 January 2014

How Can We Talk Progress with a State of the Union Like That?

There is nothing about Barack Obama's speech that demonstrated the knowledge - much less the embrace - of any technology advances from the last half century.

The State of the Union (SOTU) is still delivered by one man who talks into the camera. Recent advances (recent as in during the last few decades) include special guests in the balcony. There is no use of simple innovations that even kindergarten teachers use: little things like graphs and video.

These speeches range from topics as varied as war and foreign policy to theories about what makes economies prosper and what is fair. All explored and explained by words.

It wouldn't take much to innovate the SOTU. Graphs would do it. Documentary footage of real Americans rather than their presence in the balcony. Videos that showed Americans in battle or in unemployment lines. Graphs and numbers could help to illustrate trends, forecasts, and issues. Photos, and videos could humanize these.

The federal budget last year was trillions of dollars. The money it would cost to create a SOTU that better used an hour of millions of Americans' time would be a rounding error in this budget. It's absurd that any president intent on actually communicating would not avail themselves of technology and tools regularly used by millions of their citizens.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nobody has time for a speech. He should just tweet it.