Things are hotting up in the US presidential race.
While they’ve been firing shots at one another for what seems like forever, presidential hopefuls, Donald J Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton, will next month come face-to-face for the first time in a live televised debate.
This got me thinking about how the campaigns are being fought across social networks, away from all the lights, cameras, and foundation.
We know both candidates have been expertly trolling one another on Twitter for some time (see here, here and here), and how important the messaging platform was during the last presidential election, but what about Snapchat?
According to a quick Google search, Hillary’s team have been active on Snapchat since the start of this month, snapping behind the scenes footage of the Clinton / Kaine campaign trail. They’ve also been playing around with sponsored filters, including one at the Republican National Convention that added the following Trump quote to users' snaps: "I know Hillary and I think she'd make a great president…" Oof ?
So what about Mr Trump?
Well, according to the tweet below (a response to Hillary announcing she had joined the platform), our Republican hopeful seems to think Snapchat is a lost cause; populated by, in his own words: “16 year old girls [who] can’t vote”.
So I did a little bit of Snapchat snooping, and it appears ‘realdonaldtrump’ does indeed have a Snapchat profile, complete with a cute little flying dollar emoji (because he’s a super successful businessman, remember?) What wasn’t immediately clear, however, is whether there’s anything actually going on behind it.
Time for a little experiment. On Friday, I sent the following snap to both Clinton and Trump’s Snapchat accounts.
I’ll keep you posted on any responses, but while the message to Hillary has ‘Delivered’, Trump’s still says “Pending”, suggesting that although he’s registered on the platform, his account is dormant.
So, should we expect to see Trump on Snapchat anytime soon?
Hard to say, but based on the latest figures from the platform, it would be strange for him to continue avoiding it. According to Bloomberg, an estimated 150 million people now use Snapchat, and the messaging app claims more active users than its rival Twitter, the platform so far favoured by Trump. What’s even more interesting are Snapchat’s claims it can reach 41% of all 18 to 34 year-olds in the United States. That amounts to roughly 31 million people who can legally vote in November’s election.
Something for Team Trump to think about.