Atwitter in D.C.
Alumnus Augusto Goncalves is plugged in. The former political science major is in to social media to such a degree that when the White House was looking for people to Tweet during the recent State of the Union Address, he was selected and invited to attend.
We asked him about the experience.
Q: How did it feel to be invited to the State of the Union address?
A: When I was informed that I would be among the 60 social media-savvy citizens who actively engage with the White House to be chosen to watch the State of the Union and live-tweet from the White House, I was in disbelief.
Q: How did this come about?
A: As someone who likes to be kept abreast of all things political, be it through print, television or social media, I found myself on the White House website, which I often frequent to gather news on the current status of different administration priorities and initiatives. On that day, I happened to stumble upon information about a State of the Union Social, an event where the White House would open its doors to the public and host a group of individuals who interact with the administration on social media. It said all were encouraged to apply. Knowing that I often engage and Tweet about politics, I figured I might as well apply.
Q: What was the application process like?
A: You had to describe, in 140 characters or less, why you wanted to participate and why you should be chosen. You also had to supply your social media information, your Twitter handle, Facebook URL, Google+ info. etc.
Q: And then?
A: Eight days before the State of the Union, I received an email from the White House which I almost deleted, figuring it to be another one of those generic emails asking for folks to donate to
the cause, party, or administration. That email read, ‘Congratulations! You have been selected to attend the State of the Union White House Social.’ I couldn’t believe it! (But) I was indeed selected by the administration to go to the White House to listen and live-Tweet about the president's State of the Union address and participate in a panel discussion with White House officials afterward.
Q: What was it like?
A: Fast forward a week and I’m in D.Cc touring the White House, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. It seemed so surreal. I was so thrilled that I could hardly contain my excitement. When it came time to Tweet, I Tweeted about immigration, unemployment insurance, innovation, climate change, workforce development and equality among other things. I also Tweeted issues I thought the administration should have highlighted more such as mental health and trauma support services. Here are a few of my Tweets:
I believe that when women succeed, America succeeds!
Mental health mention! Something that we as a country definitely need to work on...
What does the administration plan to do to strengthen trauma support services not only for
vets, but for our children
After the address, I participated in a live panel made up of senior White House officials.
Q: Looking back, what impact did the experience have on you?
A: I felt so honored and blessed to have been selected to cover the State of the Union at the White House. It was a unique experience, combining politics and governance with a smart social media strategy, allowing for accessibility, interactivity and increase connectivity – some of the many reasons why this President's campaign was so effective and successful both in 2008 and in 2012. For me, a first generation Cape Verdean American male, who grew up in Boston and Brockton, to be able to say that I have been to the White House, worked in HUD's IGA office in D.C., in Governor Patrick's constituent services office in Boston, on a presidential campaign in Las Vegas, and at City Hall in Boston, is not only an incredible blessing, but a testament that with a good education like the great one I received from BSU, the drive to succeed, and the proper support anything is possible.
Connect with Augusto on Twitter: @MrAugustoG (Interview by John Winters, G ’11, University News)