There are those who only like to Facebook, and those who prefer to tweet, but we put Paul Brown down as a broadminded, social media early adopter.
The Member of the Legislative Council for the Agricultural Region has an active presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where the Geraldton local captures snapshots of his life with #ilovegeraldton.
But he’s also one of very few WA politicians prepared to snap in a different way.
We’re talking about Snapchat – the app that lets you share 10 seconds of self-destructing video or still-image content with or without ridiculous filters that allow you to vomit a rainbow.
(We’re not kidding about that last bit.)
The Nationals member is not the only MP to join the platform. (Anyone else remember Colin Barnett’s move more than 12 months ago?) Still, we give him props for being willing to try any social platform on for size.
— Colin Barnett (@ColinBarnett) January 29, 2016
It’s a good sign that Mr Brown is willing to snap, though our spies tell us he’s been very quiet on the channel in recent weeks. Time to don a wacky filter for the good of democracy.
Swapping images and videos of you looking like a puppy dog, mimicking Bambi or face-swapping sounds so trivial.
That’s because it is.
So how is Snapchat of any use in a political campaign?
For a start, by late 2016 Snapchat had accrued more than four million active Australian users. It also has a special history for Perth — with a WA investor one of the early Snapchat billionaires. And with 82% of those users under the age of 34, it’s an increasingly important and effective tool to engage with young voters.
Because it forces politicians to be more personal and authentic and allows followers to see a bit of their personality.
Remember, politicians are people too.
They may not be able to read a campaign statement at you in 10 seconds, but they can share snippets of their activities and a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the campaign trail.
And we’re pretty sure they can cram in a few election promises too.
Politicians on Snapchat is not new, but we are seeing an increase in the rise of its use for political campaigning and stakeholder engagement.
It was a big driver of young voter support for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in the US election with both candidates employing different strategies.
Closer to home we saw the Liberals, Labor and Greens jump on the Snapchat bandwagon during last year’s Federal election.
The Liberals use of a sponsored ‘Vote Liberal’ lens captured headlines and you can see the more comical responses here.
Malcolm Turnbull got into the picture, but so did Labor, which hijacked Liberal imagery with a counter-filter.
The Greens also had a ball with Snapchat, updating the traditional “I’ve voted” badge for the 21st century.
The Greens have already organised a Twitter pic replacement to register support:
— TheGreensWA (@TheGreensWA) March 7, 2017
We look forward to seeing some creative snap filters this weekend, but worry that — once again — WA might be late to the social media party.