State of the Union Speech: The Most Interactive Yet, or Ever?

Between an invited group of #WHSocial tweeters and a live-stream with enhanced graphics and a post-SOTU Q&A panel and a fireside chat and online exchanges with each executive department, Discovery is calling tonight's State of the Union "the most interactive address on record." 

You have to wonder whether a like solicitation of Citizen Response would have manifest under a Romney Administration, or whether a reincarnation will be present after President Obama concludes his second term. 

It takes time for an experiment a governing leader imagines to become a consistent reality. Take, for example, the last time a technological advance brought a new trend to the State of the Union. The Opposition Response to the address didn't exist on record before 1966, in part because television allowed this development to charge a critical mass. In the last several years, we've seen the emergence of new kinds of responses, most notably from the Tea Party. Today, both responses are an expected (if, sometimes cringe-worthy) event. 

For the Citizen Response to become an expected component of the SOTU institution, not only need it be repeated by this administration and the next, but it also requires an active response from the mass of citizens. We're part of that experiment today, and perhaps when folks look forward to the Citizen Response in the faraway future, we'll give a knowing smile. 

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Rajiv Narayan

I'm currently a contributing curator at Upworthy and a grad student at the University of Oxford, where I study Medical Anthropology. In the last year I was an Associate at the healthcare information firm Close Concerns, where I covered research, drug, and policy developments in obesity and public health. Before that I was a Research Assistant at Social Policy Research Associates. And not too long before that I was finishing my undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis, where I was very privileged to be a Regents Scholar and graduate Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors in a self-designed major. In college I was a 2010 Young People For fellow and the Senior Fellow for Health Policy at the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network. At various points over the last 4 years I've worked on an urban farm in Milwaukee, interned at the California State Assembly, and taught classes on the Social Theory of Eating Disorders at UC Davis. On the academic side, I researched obesity legislation in Argentina, food stamps in California, the racial dynamics of obesity policy in Southern States, and fat acceptance activism in California.

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