Barack Obama's State of the Union address: High school teacher Jason Knoll came to the White House on Tuesday from Madison, Wisconsin, on a mission: to show his students that tweets can be used for "more than selfies at the mall," and that political Twitter can transcend petty snark.
He joined a diverse group of about 60 people chosen from thousands of applicants who explained in 140 characters or less why they wanted to be chosen as volunteers to live-tweet Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
They paid their own way to sit in a darkened White House auditorium, far from the pomp of President Barack Obama's speech on Capitol Hill - but close enough to experience the moment.
"I hope I tweet something profound tonight about the #SOTU to make it worth your time," Knoll, told his 400 followers, including his history and government students from Verona Area High School.
The Wi-Fi connection in the Old Executive Office Building left a lot to be desired, participants griped.
But the barrage of tweets from the "State of the Union Social" - a central part of the White House social media strategy for the speech - rolled down the computer screen like a blur on hashtag #SOTUSocial.
"Lots of 'hard work and responsibility can make dreams come true' in speech so far," Knoll tweeted, saying he wished Barack Obama would focus more on foreign policy.
The tweet-up was bizarre at times - one participant tweeted a series of photos of an " Barack Obama doll" asking questions. And there were a lot of "selfies" (self-portraits shot by camera phones) in front of the White House.
But Knoll and the group helped the White House generate buzz for Barack Obama's plan in 2014, a year in which many of his fellow Democrats will face difficult re-election campaigns.
Barack Obama's televised address reached 33.5 million viewers last year, according to Nielsen ratings - a huge number, but 36 percent less than his first address to Congress in 2009.
For those tuning in, many also look for a "second screen" experience on a phone or a tablet as they listen to the speech.
"It's like the reason you go to the movie theater. It's not just for the bigger screen, it's to hear other people laughing or gasping," said Elizabeth Breese, a sociologist and strategist with Crimson Hexagon, a social media