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All things must come to an end.
President Barack Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address tonight at 9 pm ET. Unlike his previous SOTU speeches, Obama’s remarks before the nation are likely to both cap-off his eight years in office as well as frame the November election.
The president won’t have too many examples to look to for inspiration; tonight will be only the fifth time a two-term U.S. president has given a final State of the Union speech. Given the particularly tense political climate further riled by a recent executive order on gun control, his speech carries the additional weight of urging Americans to rise above Beltway squabbles and unite as a nation.
Luckily, there are several ways you can watch tonight’s historic State of the Union address. As White House Office of Digital Strategy’s Jason Goldman promised on Medium, tonight we can expect a “multi-platform streaming and social broadcast of the State of the Union that reflects the ways people experience live events in 2016.”
Wait, what does “multi-platform streaming and social broadcast” even mean?
In other words, tonight’s address will be most definitely be livestreamed for free on Whitehouse.gov/SOTU, but you can also expect plenty of bells and whistles compared to past years.
There will be opportunities for viewer engagement before, during, and after the address. If you visit the White House’s SOTU page now, you can view the annotated versions of all seven of Obama’s previous addresses. If you tune in early on Tuesday night, you can watch a special segment featuring supporters who “have been with Obama from the start,” which includes a list of people we’ve never heard of and the rapper Wale.
Where else can I watch the State of the Union?
So if you’re using a smart TV or other Web-enabled device to watch tonight’s speech, you’ve got your bases covered. If regular TV is your thing, the State of the Union will be available on all major broadcast and cable news channels: CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.
Will there be GIFs?
This is America—of course there will be GIFs. Americans can experience tonight’s SOTU through virtually every social media channel that exists. You can watch live-GIFS of the SOTU on Tumblr. Clips will be released in real-time on Facebook and Twitter. And yes, the State of the Union will be on Vine, though it’s anyone’s guess on how much sense the typically hours-long address will make when reduced to a string of six-second videos. Finally, you can catch moments from the SOTU on Instagram.
If you’re still yearning for more SOTU action, Obama will field questions from YouTube stars on Friday, Jan. 15, which will take place at 2:15pm ET.
In conclusion, unless you live in a cave, there’s no good reason (or, let’s be honest, possible way) not to catch Obama’s last speech tonight.
Photo via White House/Flickr (PD)
Amrita Khalid is a technology and politics reporter who specializes in breaking down complex issues into practical, useful terms. A former contributor to CQ, a Congressional news and analysis site, she's currently a master's candidate in international relations at the University of Leeds.