Politics & Government

Durham startup tapped by White House for digital archiving program

Durham-based technology company Archive Social released a digital archive of the Obama Administration’s social media postings Thursday, as part of the company’s involvement in the White House’s Digital Transition initiative.

The White House launched the Digital Transition initiative last October as a way to commemorate the first presidential administration to serve during a time of widespread social media usage, with more than a quarter million social media posts being archived as part of the program.

Archive Social was one of a handful of companies and organizations tapped by the White House to participate in the initiative to archive the digital footprint Barack Obama created during his eight years as president.

For its part, Archive Social made a searchable archive of more than 100 different social media profiles that the Obama Administration controlled. The searchable database can be found online at obamawhitehouse.gov.archivesocial.com and went live Thursday.

It’s something that was a natural extension of Archive Social’s business, as the company sells its social media archiving tools to government agencies across the country. It’s been a successful business for the company, which was founded in 2011 and recently moved into a downtown office after spending several years at the tech incubator American Underground.

Archive Social CEO Anil Chawla said the Obama Administration’s use of social media was transformational.

“President Obama is really our first social media president, given his presidency happened when social media was really emerging,” Chawla said. “They really adopted those platforms, and the way that he has been able to reach out to people and communicate is transformational compared to any other president.”

Chawla said Archive Social got involved with the project after seeing the White House’s announcement for the initiative, which Chawla realized his company could help with.

The company reached out to the White House via a cold email, and the partnership developed from there.

“This is as big as it gets in a lot ways,” Chawla said. “Our focus as a company is archiving social media for government, and obviously, the White House, there is no higher office in the world.”

Chawla said that the initiative was also a big win for the company’s brand, noting that, though the White House doesn’t endorse specific technology, it is giving the company a huge platform.

“Without question it will help the company and have positive side effects for our brand,” he said. “You can now go see what we have been able to do for [the White House], the most prestigious government agency in the world. Its social media is perhaps the most sophisticated and vast in terms of volume, and with our technology able to support that, then of course we could do that for every city and county in the country.”

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684