Bernie Sanders Joins The World Of Snapchat
One Democratic candidate just dropped some big news. Bernie Sanders joined Snapchat, and potentially switched up the campaign game by acquiring a direct line of communication to his millennial constituents. Social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have allowed candidates to speak directly to the entire world, bypassing standard news media filters altogether. Although these candidates can post videos online through the traditional social media sites, they’re missing the immediacy and casualness of 10-second Snapchat videos. Plus, many candidates hire social media professionals to tweet and update Facebook posts for them, creating a false aura of accessibility. Snapchat doesn't allow for those types of secrets.
While taking a picture or short video on the fly, no one has time to look staged, or overly professional for that matter. With its focus on short, sweet visuals, Snapchat is going to allow up-to-date citizens to connect with Sanders on a more personal level. He could try to use the app to push his policies, but it seems like it would be more beneficial for him to simply acquiesce to the Snapchat culture of humor and spontaneity. Sanders is finally becoming one of us. We call it Snapchat. He called it “Snapshot.” No matter.
In his first Snapchat video, Sanders can’t help but count down “3, 2, 1” before announcing, “We're off to Cleveland. Join the political revolution. Help us make real change in America." And in the initial moments of technological confusion, he sought the solace of a different social media app — Twitter — which is a promising sign.
Politico reports that new mediums of communication (namely, radio and television) have only seriously affected political campaigns twice over the past century before the transformation inspired by social media. Any candidate can ask the public to check out their website to read about their policy proposals. Now, the value of personality will grow in significance, as candidates pledge details from both their public and private lives in an attempt to become current.
If current is what they're going for, though, Sanders is late to the game in reaching out to Snapchat's almost 200 million users. His main Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, who is leading in polls, joined the app in August. Republicans Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Chris Christie have taken advantage of the app as well.
Snapchat is popular, but media experts think it's going to be a little while before it legitimately affects elections. According to Wired, a Republican digital strategist called the platform "antithetical to advertising," because the immediate erasure of photos and videos implies a focus on privacy, not publicity. That being said, Snapchat is five years younger than Twitter and seven years younger than Facebook. We've got some time to figure out whether it will be a gamechanger in the next year.