June 23, 2016

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Snapchat this week as @MichelleObama, yielding this funny short video as two teen boys teach her how to use the pretty flowers in the hair filter:

This is not all fun and games, however. There's a real political purpose behind the snapping and the chatting.

Michelle Obama is taking her daughters and mother this month on a three-continent trip on behalf of her "Let Girls Learn" initiative, "which seeks to get an estimated 62 million uneducated girls worldwide into classrooms." The Chicago Tribune reports:

The trip kicks off with a stop June 27 in Liberia, where the first lady will be joined by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Michelle Obama will visit a Peace Corps training facility in Kakata and a school in Unification Town.

"The conversation will highlight both the educational barriers girls face as Liberia moves beyond the Ebola epidemic" and the U.S. government's efforts to help give adolescent girls equitable access to safe, quality education, the White House announcement said.

In Morocco, Obama will be joined by Pinto and [Meryl] Streep for education events June 28-29. In Madrid, the Spanish capital, the first lady will give a speech June 30 on "Let Girls Learn."

[Mrs.] Obama, in remarks Tuesday, said her work to advance girls' education "will be something that I do for the rest of my life."

Michelle Obama joining Snapchat before this trip is a very conscious decision. Snapchat's growth in the past year ...

Essentially what has happened is that in 12 months, 10% of the entire nation’s population of social media using 12-24 year-olds moved from Facebook to Snapchat as their platform of choice. Snapchat grew as much in one year as Twitter has in 4 years combined.

...shows that at least for now, the way you reach young women and girls 12-24 in the US is to be on Snapchat.

I live with two girls, 12 and 13. And they "live" on Snapchat. And MichelleO on Snapchat was a really big deal this week.

The Obamas know tech and how to use it. Welcome to the puppy filter, Mr. President. Or maybe not.

(from the White House Correspondent's Dinner)

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