Monday, May 4, 2015

The 2016 Snapchat Election

Snapchat recently hired Peter Hamby, a former CNN Politics reporter and the creator of Hambycasts. According to CNN, the goal of Hambycasts is to "take viewers to meet the players and places that drive American politics."

Snapchat has already created a "Discover" section of its app, which provides media outlets the opportunity to post their own snapchat stories on individual channels. During major events, Snapchat can also create "geofences" around certain locations. Users can opt to publish snaps sent in these locations. Snapchat editors then compile published images and videos into a stream that Snapchat users around the world can access. 

Jonathan Mahler of the New York Times wrote in an article here that "it’s easy to imagine Snapchat dropping a geofence around the Iowa State Fair during a candidate’s visit, or even around a presidential debate. Would these events be as popular among Snapchat’s users as a rock concert? Maybe not, but even a fraction of that viewership would be significant."

Mahler suggests that 2016 may be a Snapchat election. Buzzfeed and Politico both changed 2012 election reporting. Mahler writes, however, that Snapchat could change media further:

 "Snapchat has a particular sensibility — casual, fun, unforced. Content is delivered in colloquial shorthand. Bad news, and there isn’t much of it, might be followed by an “Ugh.” There is liberal use of emojis. This is not a tone that will be easy for middle-aged politicians to get right. And getting it wrong could be painful for everyone involved. Especially the candidates."

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