Edward Rawson Fellow
Phone: 202-546-3950 x 110
Phone: 202-546-3950 x 110
My task for the Syria Valentine project was to figure out how to get in touch with "the Syrian Revolution." Needless to say I was a little intimidated. Locating and connecting with activists, conveying the project's sentiments, and finding a way to get our words of support to people on the ground was challenging. A week and a half ago, I never would have dreamed we would be able to make such a human connection purely though the internet, social media and email. But just since Amanda's blog was posted yesterday, we have received even more feedback from Syrian activists about our Valentine! The words are so heartfelt that I just had to share it with you.
Monday night President Obama participated in the first Presidential virtual interview ever! This Google+ Hangout event was part of the White House's continued public outreach following the State of the Union Address last Tuesday. Since the president's address last week, the White House has been requesting that people send in questions via all forms of social media, and has been holding Twitter interviews with many of the senior administration officials. This Hangout was the culmination of that week, and it turned out to be a great moment for foreign policy!
Steve Grove moderated the discussion from Google Headquarters in San Francisco, California, and there were five different people on Google+ in the virtual "room," with the President, who were able to speak out at any time. The event was broadcast on YouTube and the White House website so those of us who haven't stepped into the social media realm of Google+ yet could still hear questions asked and answered. You can watch the recording here. Mr. Grove also had some pre-recorded questions that had been sent in via YouTube either by video or comment earlier in the week.
Just six months ago I was not a huge social media user, and never dreamed that Twitter would turn out to be my ticket to the White House. My coworker Julia Bunting and I were invited to watch the State of the Union address at the White House in a room full of advocacy tweeters, and then participated in a live discussion with senior Administration officials afterwards. The live “Tweet-Up” was an amazing experience and I wanted to give you a glimpse of the action.
We had to arrive at White House at 7:45 to allow for enough time to go through security checkpoints. It was an exciting feeling, to be inside a place that is so instrumental in history and current events. We received a mini-tour on the way to the South Court Auditorium, where the Tweet-Up was held. We got to see (from afar) the Vice President’s office, the Situation Room, and the garage that usually holds the motorcade. There was some construction going on inside, which made the whole place feel a bit more normal - even the President has to deal with the hassle of renovations apparently!