The world tunes into Obama inauguration

The world turned online to watch the inauguration of president Barack Obama it seems, with online viewing skyrocketing in the UK and the US.

Monitoring site Akamai, saw a 54% spike in worldwide internet traffic from people hunting down news online as it happened. The number then jumped to 60% in the US, with traffic peaking as Mr Obama's speech began.

Facebook, who teamed up with American network news channel CNN, saw impressive stats as Obama became the 44th president of the USA. 5 minutes after the inauguration Facebook was already claiming 200,000 status updates with 3000 people commenting on the Facebook CNN feed every minute.

According to other sourcing, CNN streamed 13.9 million streams by 5.45pm UK time, beating its election day record of 5.3 million.

But it wasn't just Americans tuning in. The BBC saw an average 22% increase in traffic to its news website with a peak of 29%.

Elsewhere on the web Flickr so far has over 3000 images in the unofficial inauguration pool.

According to American mobile phone operator Verizon Wireless, call volumes in Washington were three to five times the normal. T-Mobile in America told AP that the inauguration preparations exceeded those for any single-day event in the company's history.

The Daily Mail earlier today suggested that around the world up to 1.5 billion were expected to watch the inauguration.

Obama clearly hopes to continue with his digital and online push as he takes office - the official White House website has already been updated for the new administration and is now complete with a blog.

UPDATE: Facebook has sent us updated figures. By 6:15pm GMT 600,000 status updates have been posted so far through the CNN.com Live Facebook feed, with an average of 4000 status updates every minute during the broadcast. There were 8500 status updates the minute Obama began his speech.

Elsewhere Twtter has also published figures. The microblogging site saw 5x normal tweets-per-second and about 4x tweets-per-minute with the twitterverse going mad at 5pm GMT as Obama was signed in.

Flickr photo numbers are now topping 27,000 images uploaded over the last 24 hours with the tag "inauguration"