Digital Diplomacy

As the school year comes to an end, politicians and celebrities helped celebrate the Class of 2020 with a line-up of virtual commencement addresses.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Oprah Winfrey all gave individual commencement addresses. But Graduate Together, an hour-long event honoring high school seniors organized by The Lebron James Family Foundation, the educational nonprofit XQ, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, stole the spotlight.

The online “ceremony’ featured a constellation of stars from Pharrell Williams to Megan Rapinoe to Malala Yousafzai, not to mention President Barack Obama.

More than 7 million Americans across the country tuned in, making it the most watched program on Saturday night and among the top five most watched programs for the week.

Commencement was also a popular topic of conversation on Twitter as a star-powered lineup of addresses aired throughout the week on television and social platforms.

The conversation reached peak volume on Saturday night during Graduate Together.  

Seven-in-ten tweets focused on President Obama’s addresses to graduates— including his address to graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)— calling on the Class of 2020 to build a community and overcome division.