On Friday, 10 Emerson students gathered in the lobby of the Little Building at 3 a.m. before venturing through the cold and dark streets to Faneuil Hall, according to Christian Bergren-Aragon. Wearing a suit and carrying a Red Bull, the sophomore journalism major said he was ready to see his dream of being on NBC’s morning program come to fruition.
“I have always wanted to be on The Today Show. It’s always sort have been my dream,” Bergren-Aragon said. “Matt Lauer [the show’s host] has always been my idol.”
Bergren-Aragon started a campaign on Twitter three days before the program was set to film in Boston to get the attention of the show’s producers. He encouraged friends and fellow students, by word of mouth and through custom business cards, to tweet “#ChristianBAOnToday” and mention The Today Show’s handle.
Originally, Bergren-Aragon, a Little Building resident assistant, had simply planned on taking students from his floor to the show.
“It was probably 2 a.m., Tuesday morning, [and I was] just sitting in the common room with some of my friends. And we came up with the hashtag ‘ChristianBAOnToday’ and thought it would be kind of cool to start tweeting it and see how many people we could get to tweet it with the goal of getting it trending,” he said.
Bergren-Aragon said the Twitter campaign was the first step of his three-part plan to get on the show.
“Part two was creating a professional, promotional video to show The Today Show that I have what it takes to be an anchor or a reporter for them,” he said.
The video, titled “Get #ChristianBAOnToday,” has received over 3,500 views since being posted on YouTube a day before the program’s filming, he said.
The third step was to get on the show, according to Bergren-Aragon.
“I was very surprised by how receptive people were,” he said of the social media effort.
Briana Loewen, a junior writing, literature and publishing major and a friend of Bergren-Aragon, tweeted about him and said other students were happy to help out.
“Christian’s the kind of person who’s really excited about being involved. He’s excited about the organizations he’s in, his classes; he’s just a really excited person,” Loewen said. “So when he decided that he wanted to try to get on The Today Show, people just jumped on because everyone who knows him, knows how nice he is and knows how passionate he is and how talented he is.”
The Twitter campaign garnered over 600 original tweets — not including retweets — from friends, family, and Emerson students and alumni. It resulted in stories about the Bergren-Aragon’s effort on Boston.com and Bostinno.com.
The day before the program, Bergren-Aragon said he learned the program’s executives were aware of his request to be on the show and were considering booking him. Later that night, Bergren-Aragon said friends and other students helped to make signs, continued tweeting the hashtag, and researched how many tweets there had been.
“It was like campaign headquarters,” he said.
Bergren-Aragon and his group were the first people at Faneuil Hall that morning, besides the show’s crew, according to Loewen.
“We were chanting, ‘Christian BA on Today’ just off and on, just throughout the entire time so people kind of knew that we were there. Maybe they were annoyed, but they definitely knew we
were there,” Loewen said.
Bergren-Aragon said he met Lauer before the show began, and also had a portrait taken by an NBC photographer who recognized him from the internet, he said. Bergren-Aragon was approached by two producers from the show who knew who he was, he said. NBC could not be reached by the Beacon for immediate comment.
“I told them everything that had happened over the last three days,” he said.
But despite his efforts, Bergren-Aragon could not get on the show.
“I’m honestly more happy that they have my information than I am to get on The Today Show, he said. “Because I think that will be more valuable at the end of the day.”
Gavin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.