At the end of October, we shared our plans for preserving and passing on the digital history of the Obama administration, and invited the American people to “come up with creative ways to archive this content and make it both useful and available for years to come.” From the very beginning, our mission has been to reach Americans and people around the world on the channels and platforms where they already spend their time. The White House social media archive tells the story not just of how we’ve used these platforms to engage with people wherever they are, but also of how the digital landscape has changed over the past eight years. Citizens, students, companies, and organizations answered this call to action—and today we’re excited to share some of their innovative archival projects with you:
ArchiveSocial, a social media archiving platform, is hosting an open archive consolidating more than a quarter-million White House social media posts that are easily searchable by date, platform, and keyword. The open archive is now available to the public at http://ObamaWhiteHouseArchive.social
MIT Media Lab’s Electome group and Derek Lieu, a programmer, both used topical analysis to understand what issues the White House was talking about most on Twitter. Electome’s interactive tool compares Administration tweets with a sampling of citizen tweets, and Derek’s analysis examines and how White House tweet topics fluctuated over the course of the Administration.
GIPHY, a GIF search engine, will launch a page that enables the public to view all of the GIFs that the White House has ever shared, as well as a collection of all of the White House’s Vines. The page will also include many other White House related GIFs that have been pulled together by GIPHY’s Editorial team. Check it out at giphy.com/Obama
A new Twitter bot built by the Portland, Oregon-based studio, FeelTrain, will republish White House tweets over the next eight years to mark some of the most significant moments of the Obama administration as experienced on Twitter. Follow along by visiting @Relive44 on Twitter.
Students will be diving into our social media data, too. At the University of Texas-Austin, students in Dr. Amelia Acker’s graduate seminar will be utilizing White House social media data in their final projects. And NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) Fellows are hosting an “Obamathon” on January 6th—a special hackathon to spawn the creation of new projects, like the ones listed above.
Internet Archive is making White House social media data available to download from their website—ensuring it’s publicly-accessible for years to come—and hosting a public hackathon this Saturday, January 7th.
The White House convened these citizens in the hopes that their creations would inspire people (like you) to dive into the archives themselves—to build research tools, art projects, and the like. That’s why, starting today, you can download the White House’s Twitter, Facebook, and Vine archives yourself. All of the tweets published by President Obama and the First Lady are available, as well. We can’t wait to see what you make.
The White House strives to meet people where they are — bringing the Administration’s voices to communities across the nation through digital engagement. Last week, Roberto Rodríguez, who advises President Obama on education policy, joined an online group of over 9,000 educators in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to discuss the issues important to them. The online group DFW Teachers’ Lounge is a space for educators across the Dallas-Fort Worth area to share tips, advice and support.
Read Deputy Assistant to the President Rodríguez’ contributions below (names have been removed to respect the privacy of the commenters).
“Thanks, [Redacted]. We will be talking a lot about testing today, but want to also focus in on your point on what works to improve our schools. I couldn’t agree with you more that aligned standards, deep interactions, and supportive environments are key, and that type of change needs to be initiated and supported at the local school level.”
“Thanks, [Redacted]. It sounds like you’re experiencing what we’re seeing across the country – in too many places, testing is competing with valuable classroom learning time and it doesn’t have to be that way. We want to eliminate unnecessary, duplicative and low-quality tests and improve how we use tests for student learning. More info on President Obama’s Testing Action Plan here: http://1.usa.gov/1LQHUWE
Teachers should never be judged solely on test scores. We know that too many conversations around education policy, particularly evaluation, have left teachers and school leaders feeling unfairly blamed or judged by a single test or one-size-fits all approach. We’re working to reset that dialogue.
The work you do teaching our kids couldn’t be more important – and we’re working to make sure we’re supporting you in every way we can.”
“President Obama’s goal has always been to increase the number of students successfully completing college, and that begins by making sure all of our students are prepared to succeed when they arrive on campus. The President supports high standards across all of our schools, and we’re proud that 49 states and DC have established college and career ready expectations for what students know and are able to do when they graduate from high school.”
“Every case is different, but we’ve seen a number of states and districts providing strong leadership on this front. You can learn about some of best work being done across the country here: http://1.usa.gov/1LQHUWE
We need to do more to support our teachers so that they can personalize teaching and learning for their students.”
“Couldn’t agree more [Redacted] and [Redacted], and expanding early learning is one of the issues closest to my heart! President Obama believes that high quality early education is among the smartest investments that we can make. In his 2013 State of the Union address, he called on Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool for every child in America. Since the President’s call to action, more than 35 states have increased funding for their preschool programs, amounting to over $1.5 billion in new state resources dedicated to early education. Communities across the country have engaged public and private partners to establish new preschool programs, and pushed forward with major expansions to become strong early learning communities. More info on our early learning agenda is available here: http://1.usa.gov/1N7MSSI“
“We so appreciate your work, [Redacted]. My team and I think about you and our nation’s dedicated teachers every day in the work that we do.”
“[Redacted] you are right! A single test cannot capture the full picture of a student’s learning and progress. The Every Student Succeeds Act that President Obama signed last year encourages a more balanced approach to testing and accountability by moving away from a sole focus on standardized tests to drive decisions around the quality of schools, and by allowing for the use of multiple measures of student learning and progress, along with other indicators of student success. As states and school districts implement this new law, we will see real changes in our school.”
“I agree, [Redacted]. Career and technical education plays an important role in helping many of our students prepare for success later in life. Check out our blueprint on reforming and strengthening career and technical education, which will make sure programs are aligned not only with college — and career-readiness standards, but also with the needs of employers, industry, and labor. https://www2.ed.gov/…/transforming-career-technical…“
“Learning begins at birth, and we can’t get started early enough in preparing our children for success in kindergarten and later in school. Access to high-quality early-learning programs is one of the most important things we can give our learners. Learn more about the President’s Preschool for All plan which would support that: https://www.whitehouse.gov/…/fact-sheet-president-obama…“
“I hear you loud and clear, and this is something that the President is passionate about too. We know more needs to be done to respond to the challenges our teachers face in balancing meaningful learning with testing time. Here’s more straight from President Obama: https://www.facebook.com/WhiteHouse/videos/10153858935674238/“
“I agree with TNTP that we lose too many of our best and brightest teachers because we don’t provide the right leadership opportunities for them to grow and contribute to their schools and to the teaching profession. We must do better. One response to this challenge is the Department of Education’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T program, and it’s why President Obama’s budget included $1 billion to support teachers, improve working conditions and increase teacher salaries in high-need schools. Now you don’t want to hear me sing R-E-S-P-E-C-T… http://www2.ed.gov/docu…/respect/blueprint-for-respect.pdf“
“President Obama believes that the arts are one of the most important ways to engage our students and help them develop and discover their creativity and talent. We need investments that support a well-rounded education for all our students. Learn more about reinvesting in Arts and Education in this report from the President’s Commission on Arts and the Humanities: http://www.pcah.gov/…/photos/PCAH_Reinvesting_4web.pdf
“We’re hosting listening sessions around the country to make sure that the voice of our nations teachers is reflected in the policies discussed and shaped here in Washington. But at the state and local level, we also need your voices, especially as state and school district leaders implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act. I’d encourage you to make your voice heard in that process. Thanks for sharing your voices with me today.”
“[Redacted], spot on! We don’t all have to agree on the solutions — and there is no silver bullet to addressing the challenges in our schools. But we all have to be willing to work to make things better in our education system. We can start here in Washington by listening and learning more from the work that is happening each day in our classrooms. Fun fact: Our new Secretary of Education, Dr. John King, began his education career as a middle school social studies teacher.”
“We are all life-long learners, [Redacted]! Our teachers need more meaningful opportunities to grow, learn, and lead in their classrooms. We need better induction and mentorship to support our beginning teachers in their early years. And our teachers need a greater voice in choosing the PD opportunities that will help them the most.”
“The work you do every day makes a difference in the lives of your students, Cris. In fact, The White House will recognize paraprofessionals and school support staff at a Champions of Change event later this spring: https://www.whitehouse.gov/…/nominate-school-support…. I’d encourage you to tune in!”
On the internet, the White House strives to meet people where they are – bringing the Administration’s voices to the digital services and platforms that Americans use every day. We use these tools to share real-time updates, engage with people on the issues that matter to them, and also to listen to and answer questions from the people we serve. As a recent example of the latter, Michael Botticelli — who directs our national drug control policy, and is in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder himself — visited a digital support group for the mothers of people with substance use disorders.
Over 21,000 mothers use The Addicts Mom (TAM) Facebook Group to share stories, information, and help each other as they support their own family members. Director Botticelli dropped by TAM to listen to the experiences of these mothers (and their loved ones), and respond to any questions that they had. In all there were over 900 questions and comments—many related to heroin and prescription opioid use disorders–which was more than Director Botticelli could have answered in one sitting. Below are some of the highlights of his conversations (names have been removed to respect the privacy of the commenters).
Director Botticelli also took time to answer a collection of FAQs from the chat which can be viewed here.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever. But still, in communities across the country, 10.5 million people who are eligible for Marketplace coverage remain uninsured. In addition to launching the Healthy Communities Challenge to engage key communities in reducing the uninsured during this third Open Enrollment period, the White House also issued a challenge:
Build outreach efforts that can reach these remaining uninsured Americans and help them gain coverage.
Today, the White House is highlighting the creative ways that two health care companies, ZocDoc and Oscar Health, stepped up to answer this call, and showing how they are part of a growing trend of companies using the Internet to address our nation’s problems together.
Starting today, ZocDoc, which helps people book appointments online with doctors across the country, will be using its Web and email products to reach out to hundreds of thousands of customers it believes may not have health insurance, for example, people who have booked doctors’ appointments on ZocDoc but signaled that they will pay with cash. ZocDoc will remind these customers to sign-up for coverage at Healthcare.gov before the December 15 deadline to enroll in or change plans for coverage starting on January 1, 2016.
We know that many uninsured Americans question whether they can afford coverage, and may not realize that more than 7 in 10 HealthCare.gov customers can find insurance for $75 a month or less after tax credits. So for uninsured Americans who remain skeptical about the costs of getting insured, health insurance company Oscar Health has created a digital video public service announcement (PSA) that explains why health insurance is actually more affordable than people may think. Oscar will distribute this video in key markets online, too, including in California, New York, and Texas.
Both ZocDoc and Oscar Health are just two recent examples of how creative use of new technologies can help empower citizens with knowledge and opportunities to help address today’s public policy challenges together. In October, in response to a call issued by the President to help aid refugees, tens of thousands of Americans donated to refugee relief efforts — with opportunities to donate made ubiquitous thanks to independent product integrations from Kickstarter, Instacart, and others. And when the First Lady called for the private sector to help employ veterans and end veterans’ homelessness, companies across the economy responded with hiring commitments and other creative actions. This past Veterans Day, ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft enabled tens of thousands of Americans to donate free rides to homeless veterans to help them get to job interviews, employment events, and home from new jobs when public transportation is not an option.
Scores of companies and non-profits, from a wide range of sectors, are stepping up to help address today’s collective challenges and support expanded civic participation. The President and First Lady have rallied citizen engagement on many key collective challenges: protecting the climate, improving access to healthcare, giving our veterans the support they deserve, fighting childhood obesity, making sure every child finishes school ready for college and career, and so many more. The Internet’s ability to empower citizens to engage and take immediate action has helped expand opportunities for companies and non-profits to work with members, customers and the public to facilitate broader civic participation. At the White House, the Office of Digital Strategy is constantly looking for new and creative ways to expand opportunities for civic participation in solving todays’ problems together. If your organization is using the Internet to help citizens pitch in to solve our nation’s problems, or would like to and think you can help in some way, please get in touch.
And, don’t forget: the deadline for January 1 coverage is December 15, and open enrollment ends on January 31. If affordable health insurance is available, but you choose to not enroll in coverage for 2016, you may be required to pay a fee when you file your 2016 federal income taxes. So go to HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 for more information or to sign up today.
In the summer of 1885, hundreds of thousands of Americans – from street cleaners and politicians, to young children and businessmen – united to donate small sums of money to a common cause. Collectively, they raised $2.5 million (in today’s dollars) to build a base for the Statue of Liberty, which had arrived in New York in pieces. To this day, the Statue of Liberty still stands on the sum of these small contributions. These efforts taught us that if we join together our impact can be large.
Today, almost 12 million people – roughly the size of New York City and Los Angeles combined – have been displaced by the conflicts in Syria. Over half of these displaced persons are children. Under President Obama, the U.S. is increasing the number of Syrian and other refugees we admit from around the world on an annual basis to 100,000 in the next two years and has provided $4.5 billion in humanitarian assistance to people affected by this conflict. Large corporations have donated millions more. But you do not need to be a government or Fortune 100 company to #AidRefugees.
“This isn’t just about what I can do as President. Every single one of us – from citizens to NGOs – can help refugees find safe haven.”
From non-governmental organizations to small businesses to congregations in communities across the country, Americans are using what they have to contribute to this effort. Just like we banded together in 1885, we can join together to provide shelter, food, and medical assistance to these people in need. It’s the American thing to do.
Today, we want to highlight a few examples of American businesses that have heeded the President’s call and built a novel way for citizens to contribute what they can to #AidRefugees.
In the spirit of the Statue of Liberty story, Kickstarter has partnered with UNHCR to build and launch their first-ever non-profit campaign outside the creative universe. Aiming to raise awareness around the crisis, Kickstarter has designed a new type of campaign page to enable anyone to donate directly to support refugees.
Similarly, Instacart, which enables users to order groceries from stores, has also joined forces with UNHCR to provide food to refugees in the region. Instacart customers, while in the process of buying groceries for their families, will have the option of also buying food for refugee families — right at their fingertips. Enabling this experience will make it incredibly easy for American citizens to contribute what they can, to a very real need.
Doing what you can comes in many shapes and sizes. Twitter responded to the President’s call and launched its donation product early, allowing NGOs groups working on the refugee crisis to raise funds on their platform. Airbnb is providing free housing credits to aid workers in the region and matching any gifts from their community. Starbucks is using its social media channels to ask its customers to donate to a partner NGO. The list goes on.
In the words of President Obama, “We have a moral responsibility to do what we can for families forced from their homes.” The White House would like to thank Kickstarter, Instacart, Airbnb, Starbucks and the scores of American businesses doing what they can to #AidRefugees.