State of the Union brings White House to Snapchat

As the White House prepared for President Obama’s final State of the Union address, it gave some exclusive behind-the-scenes looks on Snapchat.

White House workers posted about 25 videos, each 10 seconds or less (as per Snapchat rules), to the popular app on Tuesday. The clips included the president’s two Portuguese water dogs relaxing on the White House lawn, First Lady Michelle Obama greeting viewers and shots of Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill at different points during the day.

The White House, which joined Snapchat on Monday, is using the app in the hopes of staying in touch with teens and young adults. With at least 40 million of its U.S. users old enough to vote, Snapchat could be an easy destination for political candidates to pitch potential volunteers and voters.

For all the tweeting, Instagramming, YouTubeing and Facebooking the White House engages in, the ability to layer text on images, toss in digital stickers and shoot really quick video is uniquely Snapchat. It won’t kill anyone to miss Tuesday’s White House snaps, but they offer people another place to see what the government is up to.

The Obama administration’s use of Snapchat also underscores how the Venice-based entertainment app company has become a mainstream video distribution service, following the likes of YouTube and Facebook.

The official White House account on Snapchat stands out from imposters because it has the U.S. flag next to it. Snapchat recently launched some symbols to help people locate “official” accounts.

Users who don’t follow the White House account still could catch some of the same clips because Snapchat included a few in a video that was displayed to users high in their update feeds. That video featured about 70 videos, including from other politicians, such as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan getting dressed for Obama’s speech.

Political advertising on Snapchat has been ramping up for several months, with several candidates and even the House Republican caucus creating their own accounts over the last year.

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