Welcome to Snapchat, POTUS - Technical.ly DC

Creative

Jan. 11, 2016 12:59 pm

Welcome to Snapchat, POTUS

The White House has created a Snapchat account, just in time for the State of the Union.

You can add the White House on Snapchat using this code.

(Screenshot)

There is a bowl of apples in the Oval Office this morning, and I know that because I saw it on Snapchat.

That’s right, the White House announced on Monday that they’ve officially joined the popular social messaging app, looking to “meet people where they are.”

Meeting people where they are,” actually, is the White House’s official digital strategy ahead of SOTU 2016.

The White House's first snap. (Screenshot)

The White House’s first snap. (Screenshot)

Per this strategy, Snapchat is just one attempt to deliver important information from President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address into the hands of millennials and cord-cutters. Tuesday’s SOTU will also be available for streaming, for the first time, via Amazon Video.

But the Snapchat coverage will be a little different. “Our Official Story will take you behind the scenes of the White House’s State of the Union preparations, with footage and angles you won’t find anywhere else,” a Whitehouse.gov blog post announcing the account declares.

This is good news because, at least in this reporter’s opinion, behind the scenes is what Snapchat does best.

DJ Khaled’s meteoric rise to Snapchat prominence, for example, isn’t because his content is particularly special or polished (he has been known to deliver life lessons, breathless and covered in sweat, from mid-workout on an elliptical machine). No, Khaled’s account is great because it gives fans and followers unprecedented and intimate access to the life of a charismatic character.

Also, when it comes to live events like SOTU, Snapchat has become the place to score a behind-the-scenes vantage point. The Golden Globes story, for example, featured everything from Eva Longoria dancing on the red carpet, to backstage chats with the recent winners.

There’s a key difference, though, between the Golden Globes story and the White House’s upcoming SOTU story — the Golden Globes story is “live,” meaning that what a viewer sees is a compilation of individual snaps (10 second video or photo clips) sent from anyone within a certain geofence. The White House’s story on Tuesday evening, by contrast, will be the work of one account.

In other words, whoever is running the White House account tomorrow night will have their work cut out for them.

There’s another thing that will make White House Snapchat content unique. Mashable reports that, per government regulations, all White House snaps will be preserved for the archives. So much for ephemerality.

The new Snapchat account is the White House’s latest in a run of “creative” attempts to reach the American people, attempts that include Obama’s personal Twitter account and Facebook page. In the scheme of things, though, the White House is actually a latecomer to the app. Many 2016 candidates already use Snapchat — even Bernie Sanders joined back in November.

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Tajha Chappellet-Lanier

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier is the lead reporter for Technical.ly DC. The California native previously worked for NPR and the editorial board at USA Today. She can talk travel plans all day, and has strong opinions on the best doughnut in D.C.

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