Tonight, President Obama will be addressing the nation (and the world) from the Oval Office. He is expected to announce a significant shift in America’s combat role in Iraq. The speech will be on a live stream on YouTube starting at 8pm EST.

Following the President’s address, YouTube is giving viewers a chance to interact with the White House. There will be a Q & A session from queries submitted on YouTube during the day.

Here’s how it works: Before the address, you submit a question. Everyone gets to vote their favorite questions to the top. The questions with the most votes will be discussed by Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, following the President’s address.

Submit or view questions on the White House’s YouTube channel sometime today, or view the President’s address about the war in Iraq this evening at 8pm EST.

The video will be saved to YouTube’s CitizenTube, YouTube’s news and politics blog, for future viewing for those who miss it tonight and those who want to watch it again later.

This isn’t the first time that the President has addressed viewers in this manner. He used the medium a few months ago to discuss the Gulf oil spill with Americans. If the trend continues, YouTube may become a sort of easy-access archive for presidential addresses and other important videos in our nation’s history.

These live streaming videos seem to signify a significant shift in the government’s presence in the lives of the American public. Social media marketing services are the latest tools the White House is using to communicate with the American people. President Obama’s take on social media since the beginning of his presidential campaign suggests that Facebook and YouTube won’t be the end of his online social expansion in behalf of the White House.

Jamie Bates