Snapchat’s 100 million active users are progressively engaging in the political scene. Throughout the 2016 election season, Snapchat has gained popularity among the presidential candidates, the public and news companies, making it an increasingly popular source for political information and discussion.
According to the Washington Post, the majority of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18 and 34. Attracting youth voters has historically been one of the most difficult election tasks, and Snapchat may be a key player in solving that problem. Presidential candidates are vigorously competing for this market of voters. Snapchat provides a platform that captivates the youth politically, leading to a potential decrease in the voter age gap. According to the New York Times, Snapchat has the potential to reach first-time voters, albeit with “colloquial shorthand” and emoji’s.
With Snapchat, there is more candidate and citizen symbiosis. Candidates have the ability to directly interact with the public through this platform. The presidential candidates are more personable and candid as they update their “story” on what life is like on the campaign trail. Snapchat humanizes the candidates and makes them relatable to the general public.
Snapchat brings increased political familiarity in a fun and engaging way. Presidential candidates are able to post campaign ads on Snapchat, bringing even more awareness to the election. These candidate ads are different from television ads because they are more personal and honest, and are often in set a relaxed environment. The “Discover” section is the news section of Snapchat that hosts political coverage by allowing networks to post new reports every 24 hours. CNN’s Peter Hamby joined Snapchat May of 2015 to increase political coverage and transform it into a political channel. According to The Guardian, Snapchat provides more digestible information and can give a “behind-the-scenes” look at the election. The reason Snapchat is so popular with the 2016 election is because it provides accessible information that is easy to comprehend.
In our increasingly “busy” lives, Snapchat provides the latest information at our fingertips. The disappearing feature of Snapchat emphasizes looking forward to what will happen next, rather than dwelling on the past. In regards to the 2016 election, Snapchat mimics today’s political coverage; political issues are changing on a daily basis. Snapchat is altering the way candidates and citizens communicate, and is serving as a new outlet for political engagement.