He Signed Up For What? Rand Paul’s on Snapchat!

He Signed Up For What? Rand Paul’s on Snapchat!


It’s Snapchat, the app known for its sexier side, for turning down a $3 billion offer from Zuckerberg, and for an 18-29 crowd that tends to value its privacy. And now it has Paul! While this crowd isn’t typically adding politicians to their list of friends, they now have the option to add “SenatorRandPaul.”


Now its users aren’t exactly using Snapchat for serious political discussions, but the app itself has an appeal for an audience that Paul is targeting. An audience that is concerned with Internet freedom and privacy especially in light of the NSA scandal.

The rise of Snapchat and other services that promise anonymity and security are tempting tools for those seeking privacy on the Web. According to Pew, 86 percent of U.S. Internet users have taken steps to mask their online footprints. (Bloomberg)

Then again, there’s always the flip side. Several writers have even wondered what would have happened if Christie’s staff had used a tool like Snapchat.

Reading through the series of Gmails between Bridget Anne Kelley and David Wildstein, it’s easy to imagine an alternate scenario of the two of them giggling and swapping photos of the bridge mayhem on the George Washington Bridge via Snapchat. Self-destructing photos would have at least avoided the embarrassing e-mail paper trail (e.g. “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee… Got it”), complicating any efforts to find out who was responsible for the scandal. (Washington Post)

Not that Snapchat is secure. Despite its ephemeral nature, it’s not without security leaks and unopened Snaps can apparently be recovered by the police.

When you look beyond the trivial surface of Snapchat, there’s definitely that core idea of “I don’t want everything I say or do to be online forever….or to be visible to extra unknown parties.”

“…there’s no doubt that we’re witnessing a sea change in how we use and think about the Web. We’re aware, more than ever, of the potential privacy implications of signing up for social networks. Internet users are aware that anything they do or say online might surface again in the future. No wonder the race is on to create new Internet tools that protect personal privacy. Especially after the NSA scandal, we no longer assume that nobody’s watching.” (Washington Post)

Rand Paul might be on the right track and potential young voters will get a kick out of him being on Snapchat… or they’ll add him about as quickly as they would their grandmother. Either way, I’m still here waiting for my first “snap”. At least I know he’ll have his pants on.




(Photo courtesy of Buzzfarmers, via Flickr Creative Commons CC BY 2.0)



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