If you’re on Snapchat, you may soon be getting selfies from Senator Rand Paul.
The Senator is announcing today that he is joining Snapchat, the wildly popular social-messaging service where photo and video messages self-destruct after being viewed.
In an era where most politicians have recognized the necessity of engaging with their constituents on social networks, nearly every Senator and member of Congress has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. But Snapchat is a relatively new platform for the political world. The Senator’s username on the service is “SenatorRandPaul,” and he sent his first message to fans on the service on Wednesday afternoon with a photo of himself and a message saying “Thanks for following!”
What will Rand “snap”? Politico reports that he’ll use the account to “offer backstage glimpses of his trips and media appearances,” and a spokeswoman for the Senator says: “Senator Paul always looks for a way to engage Americans of all ages. Snapchat will allow everyone to follow the senator as he travels around the nation and spreads the message of liberty.”
Snapchat has also recently been in the headlines for some troubling reasons - the company was recently hacked, and over 4.6 million users’ data was leaked. But despite the hack, the service remains popular among social media users concerned about privacy, with Snapchat users uploading over 400 million photo and video messages a day on the site - surpassing Facebook in daily photo uploads. The app is also popular with teens, who make up some of Snapchat’s most dedicated users - the median age of a Snapchat user is 18, according to Forbes. For those concerned about their digital footprint, Snapchat’s ephemeral nature is appealing - while Facebook and Instagram photos live online forever, a Snapchat photo only lasts for 10 seconds after being viewed, and then vanishes.
Judging by the response on Twitter, users who followed the Senator on Wednesday were excited to receive his first Snap, sent around noon on Wednesday: