Is Michelle Obama seriously joining Snapchat? Now?
Of course she is — it’s where the cool kids are — and, increasingly, their moms, so the Cool Mom-In-Chief was bound to join the fun.
The first lady’s inaugural foray into the social media platform on Tuesday was rife with dog whistles for a young-skewing demographic. First, she appears with Kevin Vincent and Jerry Hall, the original creators of that viral running man dance that’s everywhere now. And next, she’s off with James Corden, of the “Late Late Show,” on one of his carpool karaoke rides.
But Obama’s presence isn’t going to be all about pop-culture phenoms and cat-face-filter selfies: According to a White House press release, she created the account so “young people” can follow her while she travels around the world promoting her “Let Girls Learn” initiative.
The first lady has proved adept at using the social media game, and all its attendant goofiness, to further her serious causes — that 2014 Vine video in which she turned a Lil Jon song into a pro-veggie anthem, “Turnip for What,” being a prime example. She’s dunked a basketball with the Miami Heat (for her “Let’s Move” campaign) and rapped with Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah (their track was titled “Go to College”).
Her chief of staff, Tina Tchen, recently described Obama’s willingness to engage as not just a stylistic choice, but a practical tactic for elevating her message despite having only a small budget. “The ability to … put out a viral video, and you can hit tens of millions of people, and it doesn’t cost you anything — that’s pretty remarkable,” Tchen said.
Snapchat, with 150 million daily users, just surpassed Twitter in popularity, making it a service that FLOTUS — who’s already active on Vine, Instagram, and Twitter — couldn’t ignore much longer.
And though she might be the first first lady of the social media era, Obama is not exactly blazing trails.
Last month, she and President Obama engaged in a mock rivalry over tweeted videos to draw attention to the Invictus Games, an Olympics-like event for wounded veterans. Their unlikely opponent? The 90-year-old Queen Elizabeth II.