Clinton Takes to Instagram -- With Pantsuit Photo
Hillary Clinton unveiled her Instagram account on Wednesday, and her first photo—an image of red, white, and blue pantsuits captioned “Hard Choices,” in reference to her 2014 memoir—had received more than 8,500 likes and 2,280 comments within six hours of its posting. The Democratic presidential frontrunner’s account also received more than 41,100 followers in the same period.
However, Clinton has arrived later than other presidential hopefuls to the social network, which allows users to post, share, and comment on each other’s photos and videos. Republican contenders Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, John Kasich, and Mike Huckabee, as well as Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chaffee, are all on the site. But Clinton has already garnered more followers than any of the others.
The former secretary of state’s campaign hopes that the Instagram account will “more regularly show a more candid, personal side of their candidate and her supporters,” according to one press report. Most of the other candidates’ accounts display a mix of these casual photos as well as official images from speeches, media interviews, or campaign posters.
Until now, the Clinton camp has limited most of its social media presence to Facebook and Twitter, although Clinton recently joined LinkedIn, a network oriented towards professionals. Her lengthy Twitter bio states that she is a “wife, mom, grandma, women+kids advocate, FLOTUS, Senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate.” (Her laconic Instagram bio, meanwhile, states only that she is a “doting grandmother, among other things.”)
Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, and for the past several years the photo-sharing site has been one of the fastest-growing social networks on the Web. In 2013, its number of active users grew by 23 percent (compared with negative-3 percent for Facebook), and by the first quarter of 2015 29 percent of online adults had an Instagram account, according to the market research firm GlobalWebIndex. Every day, 300 million users share over 70 million photos and videos. According to a 2015 poll by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, Instagram is the second most popular social network among 18-to-29-year-olds.
In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Facebook suggested that websites like Instagram will be important to the presidential election, noting that “2016 will be the most visual election to-date. On Instagram, politicians cut through the noise and show their genuine, candid selves.”