There comes a moment in every young social app’s life when the discussion of whether or not you’ve hit peak cool has happened. Facebook has unquestionably been labeled the network of the olds, there’s some back and forth about where Twitter lies, and Instagram seems to have been able to maintain its youth well. Snapchat, among them all, remains the app of the underaged.
Did you hear? I joined @Snapchat! For daily updates & behind-the-scenes footage follow: senatorrandpaul. I’m sending my first snap tonight.
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) January 15, 2014
Until now? Sen. Rand Paul announced this morning (appropriately, via Twitter) that he would be joining Snapchat, and that he’d be sending his first ever snap this evening. However, he couldn’t wait and sent it today anyway.
It’s just yet more confirmation that nothing is safe and the social Web is not sacred. Facebook is rolling out the red carpet, giving celebrities perks in exchange for their posts; Twitter was long swept into the political and advertising arenas; and Instagram is very receptive to brands. This isn’t to say that Snapchat has been a holdout: Marketers have been tip-toeing into the app, experimenting with how to work with it, but the difference is that these experiments are focused on fun. They are light-hearted ways to engage with fans and users—young fans and users—and it’s going to be a tough sell for a politician to do the same.
Also, Sen. Paul’s privacy position (that we should have it, and that the National Security Agency owes consumers an explanation… and some money) is confusing, since Snapchat has been on thin ice with privacy advocates as of late.
But the bigger issue, of course, is whether this indicates Snapchat has jumped the shark: Do we really want politicians lame attempts at connecting with the youth of America in wacky ways to outshine our own Snapchat masteries? If, out of curiosity, you friend Sen. Paul and Taco Bell and whatever other “professional” handles are out there, then eventually every other snap in your inbox will be a thinly veiled advertisement.
Everyone’s allowed to use Snapchat in their own way, but if you want to reach the target demographic, then you have to speak that language. No armchair speeches, no soapbox pleas: Adopt a “when in Rome” attitude. Learn how to make a hilariously uggo face and creepshot your way into their favor. It’s the only way.
I got a great snap from Senator Paul last night. Enjoy.
My first snap from Rand Paul. Good stuff. He gets the kids. pic.twitter.com/ONAwamEGb2
— Molly McHugh (@iammollymchugh) January 16, 2014