Heard on the Hill

The Snapchat Senators

Daines, Murphy, Booker and McCain talk about the social mobile app

Montana Sen. Steve Daines Snapchats in Statuary Hall before President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Snapchat was initially established in 2011 and within the last year or so, a few senators have jumped on the social messaging app popular with millennials.

The lawmakers usually send multimedia messages, or snaps, themselves — as opposed to having their staffers do it — and they get pretty creative with what they send to followers.

We asked a few avid senatorial Snapchatters about how they use the service.

Montana Republican Steve Daines@stevedaines

 

Established: Early 2016.

Is it you Snapchatting? Yes.

Why do you like having a Snapchat account? “The best part of Snapchat is that it is spontaneous, genuine, and it’s real. When I meet with young people, as soon as you mention Snapchat, their eyes light up.”

What is one of your favorite things that you Snapchatted? “Feeding my chickens”

Connecticut Democrat Christopher S. Murphy@chrismurphyct

 

Established: March 24, 2016.

Is it you Snapchatting? “I do all of my snaps myself. My staff taught me how to use the app, but I’ve always been the one snapping.”

Why do you like having a Snapchat?I like that it’s quick and visual. I can show exactly where I am and what I’m doing in 10 seconds.”

What is one of your favorite things that you Snapchatted? “I used Snapchat a lot during my walk across Connecticut. I snapped everything from the people I met along the way to the time I had to wait out a rainstorm inside an abandoned firewood box. People (mostly teenagers) would see where I was snapping from and they and their parents would get in the car and come find me — kind of like a real-life Pokemon Go. That’s something that wouldn’t happen with any other platform.”

A screenshot of Murphy’s snap from the firewood box. (Courtesy of Murphy’s office)
A screenshot of Murphy’s snap from the firewood box. (Courtesy of Murphy’s office)

New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker@CoryBooker

 

Established: January 2016.

Is it you Snapchatting? “Definitely all me, often to the distress of my staff.”

Why do you like having a Snapchat? “It’s a fun way to connect with constituents and followers, especially young folks and those who may not read the newspaper every day or watch cable news every night.

It’s a very authentic and unfiltered way to communicate what’s happening in my life, at the Capitol, back at home in Jersey, and I love that. It breaks down some of the more traditional walls that have existed between elected officials and their constituents and in doing so, drives deeper engagement and participation, and that’s sorely needed in our politics today. On a personal note, I use Snapchat to help me stay in better touch with my friends.”

What is one of your favorite things that you Snapchatted? “Definitely my attempts at car karaoke with unwitting staffers.”

Arizona Republican John McCain@senjohnmccain

 

Established: March 1, 2017.

Is it you Snapchatting? “While my staff primarily snaps photos and videos, I often come up with the ideas myself.”

Why do you like having a Snapchat? “I believe it’s absolutely critical to engage with my constituents, especially young people, on the social media channels they use. I also love Snapchat’s filters.”

What is one of your favorite things that you Snapchatted? “[Last] week, I snapped a photo with Mae Krier, an original “Rosie the Riveter” who, at the age of 17, went to work at an aircraft factory to construct B-17 bombers following the attack on Pearl Harbor. I hope Mae’s photo will serve as an inspiration to my young followers of the selfless sacrifice so many Americans from the Greatest Generation made in service to our nation.”

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