January 14, 2005

Inauguration organizing on the Web

As Washington, D.C. prepares for next week’s presidential inauguration, the internet has become a central resource for planning “offline” events online. With the ability to update information instantaneously and target specific constituencies, the internet is an ideal tool for organizing events both big and small.

For example, the inauguration’s official web site, inaugural05.com, includes a running countdown, event calendar, ticket information, and features an article on the designers Laura Bush selected to design the inaugural outfits.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has a page with information on public viewing areas and historical facts about previous inauguration ceremonies. A number of local media outlets and the DC Metropolitan Police Department have listed entry points and street closures relating to the parade, and the National Weather Service has set up a page dedicated to weather forecasts for inauguration day and information on the weather history of previous ceremonies. There’s even an online blog dedicated solely to the inaugural events.

But the organizers of the official events are not the only groups that are using the internet to plan events during inauguration week. Large numbers of protestors are expected on and before January 20, and groups like A.N.S.W.E.R. have used their web sites to relay information about plans for their counter inaugural demonstration to take place on the same day. Another group, turnyourbackonbush.org, has also used their web site to inform potential participants on ways they can participate and includes a page on nonviolent protest training.