Snapchat's new feature encourages kids to run for office (some day)

The Run For Office mini tool contains info on more than 75,000 elections, searchable by area of interest and zip code.

Snapchat’s latest tool takes direct aim at young users’ political ambitions (or lack thereof), urging them toward resources to get them thinking about running for office someday. The in-app Run For Office tool is meant to be an informational resource for young users who would like to learn more about what it takes to start up a campaign for local political office.

In a press release, Snap said it believes “one of the most powerful forms of self-expression is participating in democracy.” The company cites a statistic that might come as something of a surprise for those of us who don’t use the app much anymore: Snapchat reaches a staggering 90 percent of 13 to 24-year-olds in the United States.

The Run For Office tool is part of Snapchat’s suite of Mini apps, which the company has been building up since its first introduction last year. The Mini can be accessed without ever leaving Snapchat and includes a searchable database of open local political positions based on zip code and issues they’re passionate about.

Learning and sharing — The Run For Office Mini can be accessed by swiping down on the camera screen — where the rest of the Mini library resides — or by searching for “Run For Office” in the app’s search bar. The tools’ main feature is that searchable database, which includes more than 75,000 upcoming elections on the federal, state, and local levels.

If users are interested in actually, you know, running, the Run For Office tool will help connect them with candidate recruitment organizations including Emerge America, IGNITE, New American Leaders, New Politics, Run GenZ, Run for Something, Running Start, LGBTQ Victory Institute, Vote Run Lead, and the Women’s Public Leadership Network. Users can also “nominate” friends who they believe might be a good fit for office — encouragement for them to check out the Mini themselves.

Social media gets political — Snapchat has not shied away from politics in the past; in fact, Snap has been expanding the app’s political resources for quite a while now. Voter registration resources have been available in-app since 2018, and Snap says it helped more than 1.2 million users register to vote last year alone.

This is by far the most proactively political Snapchat has ever been, though. And that puts it many steps ahead of any other social media company. Facebook’s voting resources reached almost double Snapchat’s estimated audience last year, but it also hasn’t done any more than the bare minimum on that front. Snapchat’s extremely young demographic positions it perfectly for this kind of content. It might even actually convince the youth to run for office.