Tweeting truth to power
It isn’t often that students get to sit in the same room as someone who’s written some of the
biggest Twitter tweets ever.
At a presentation titled “POTUS & the Little Bird: Reflections on Politics in the Age of
Twitter,” the former director of Online Engagement for President Obama, Alex Wall, explained
how politics have changed with the introduction of social media.
Obama was the first president to take a selfie, participate in Facebook Live, and use YouTube
as a platform where citizens could directly ask the president questions, said Wall.
In his job at the White House, Wall helped see all of these actions come to fruition.
Wall was also a moving force behind the @POTUS account during Obama’s presidency,
which acted as “a way for people to really connect with him as a president,” he said.
Wall saw the good, the bad and the silly. He was in charge of covering tragedies like the
Boston Marathon bombing and creating engagement “in some of the most lighthearted,
ridiculous moments,” including the presidential turkey pardon.
“When you’re working in politics, there are a lot of highs and a lot of lows” and “you really
have to figure out how to respond” to these events, Wall said.
In the age of social media, Wall said, “if you're not constantly thinking, what is the source of
this information, then it suddenly becomes this mumbled mess.”
That mess “can become dangerous unless you’re constantly thinking of the critical and
analytical questions,” he said.
Moving on from political campaigns, at least for now, Wall runs a start-up company in New
York, Sweet Spot Strategy, which aims to help people develop “a winning strategy from the
ground up that effectively targets your audience, expands your reach, and achieves your goals.”
Wall, a 2005 graduate of Easton Area High School, is the son of NCC art professor Bruce
After working for Obama, he served as Hillary Clinton’s social media strategist during her
unsuccessful run for president last year. He called her defeat “the worst day of my life.”
The Commuter sponsored Wall’s presentation on Nov. 28 in College Center 220.