White House joins Snapchat, rolls out digital options for SOTU


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The White House joined the widely popular social media network on Monday. (White House)

If Snapchat star DJ Khaled is to be believed, the Obama administration just unlocked a major key to success.

The White House joined the ephemeral messaging platform Monday, giving the public another way to engage with the administration via social media.

Snapchat is a widely popular mobile app, with 100 million daily active users. With over 60 percent of American smartphone users between ages 13 and 34 using the platform, it gives the White House another avenue to connect with young people.

“In light of the number of Americans who use the service to consume news and share with their friends, the White House is joining Snapchat to engage this broad cross-section of the population in new and creative ways,” wrote Joshua Miller, White House director of product management, in a White House blog post.

A screenshot of the White House’s first Snapchat, a shot of the Oval Office. (White House/Snapchat)

First created to send picture messages that disappear after a few seconds, the app now has a variety of ways users can view media. The story function, which is where the White House posted its first message, is viewable for up to 24 hours after it’s been posted. A White House official told FedScoop the content will be fully compliant with Presidential Records Act requirements — snaps will be saved and preserved for the archives.

The announcement comes as the White House rolls out a suite of digital offerings for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

Among the new features this year is a deal with Amazon Video to offer the speech on-demand across Amazon’s content platforms. The speech will be available to watch from Wednesday through the end of the week, viewable on smart TV, Web browser, mobile device or tablet.

The digital team will also be cutting up various parts of the president’s speech, posting content on every digital platform imaginable: the administration plans to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Vine to blast highlights.

For those wonks looking for a bit of nostalgia, the White House is also offering annotated versions of the president’s prior State of the Union speeches through online annotation platform Genius. All seven speeches have comments from various White House officials, taking the public in-depth on some of the policy measures the president has laid over his two terms.

A screenshot of online annotation platform Genius being used to annotate President Barack Obama’s prior State of the Union addresses. (White House)

The White House will also stream the State of the Union Tuesday on both the White House website and YouTube, with an enhanced pre-show available the website. E! television host Terence J, rapper Wale and Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf of the band EL VY will join prior to the speech.

Contact the reporter on this story via email at greg.otto@fedscoop.com, or follow him on Twitter at @gregotto. His OTR and PGP info can be found hereSubscribe to the Daily Scoop for stories like this in your inbox every morning by signing up here: fdscp.com/sign-me-on.

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Applications & Software, Government IT News, snapchat, Social Media, State of the Union, Tech, White House