A deal for the “Greatest Office in the Land” (White House) social media archive of President Obama can take Durham startup ArchiveSocial to “the next level,” its founder says. And what about Donald Trump’s tweets? “We would welcome the opportunity to service the next administration,” he says.
The Skinny caught up with ArchiveSocial’s visionary CEO Anil Chawla Thursday night after the big news broke earlier in the day that his firm has landed an agreement with the Obama Administration to create a searchable archive of its burgeoning social archive. The first “social media president” and some 250,000 posts from across various platforms are now preserved in an organized repository that ArchiveSocial will maintain – at least for now.
And while the deal included no money, Chawla says the resulting publicity as well as the quality of the archive his firm’s proprietary technology has developed will likely lead to more deals in the future.
Now, what about POTUS-to-be Trump, the new king of Twitter? Read on.
Here’s our Q&A:
- How did this agreement come about?
We ran across news last fall about the White House needing to archive their social media, so of course we thought we were a perfect fit. We reached out to them via cold email and it turned into a series of conservation. Ultimately, our work with them is really a collaboration rather than a contract. They had made a public call-to-action to help preserve and share the administration’s social media content, and we took part by launching archive.
- What does this news mean for your company?
It means a tremendous amount. As a company that caters to government agencies, there is no agency more meaningful and prestigious than The Greatest Office in the Land. Practically speaking, it is a great way to show off what we can do in terms of technology and scale, and how we can help government agencies of all types.
It is exciting for our team to be involved in a project with this much historical significance. We were already on a great trajectory, but this can really take us to the next level. It is also a great way to attract talented people to our growing team, as we are continually hiring.
- Why did the White House not create this on its own?
We were only one piece of the puzzle in regards to the White House digital transition plan, and I believe that the White House was able to work directly with the social networks to get a lot of the data. That being said, the data provided by the social networks is in a very basic format, and our technology stands alone in its ability to accurately store and replay social media content in an authentic fashion.
The open, searchable archive we provide is truly a unique way to consolidate and share the information.
- Did you have to pay anything for the rights to the archive or did the WH agree to pay ArchiveSocial for the creation, publication and hosting?
This effort was truly a collaboration. ArchiveSocial created the open archive and is hosting it, but the content truly belongs to the American people. We were not motivated to do this for financial gain, but rather for the opportunity to participate in this historic preservation of our first social media president.
Our mission at ArchiveSocial is to “Empower and Protect Open Dialogue” and we believe that having an accurate, public record of how a presidential administration has communicated with the public has significant value to society. We also knew that this effort would reflect well on our company and our technology.
- Will AS keep the archive or at some point will it become part of the Obama presidential library?
For the time being, we will continue to manage and host the archive in an independent fashion, while fully respecting the intentions of the White House digital transition team.
- What are the biz benefits for your company? How can you monetize this?
As I said earlier, it is a great way to show off what we do. It is also a chance to put ArchiveSocial on the national stage. Even though we already work with many of the largest cities and counties in the nation, the Obama White House archive provides us with a completely new level of exposure.
- What about president-elect Trump and his Twitter feed? Interested in archiving that? He certainly uses social media a great real – and in a very different, outspoken way than President Obama, don’t you think?
There is no question that Trump’s use of Twitter is generating tremendous interest, and that is likely to escalate when he actually takes office. There is also no question that his tweets need to be maintained per the Presidential Records Act.
It’s much better idea to retain the content as it is generated, rather than re-actively, so we would welcome the opportunity to service the next administration.