In one of yesterday’s threads, Baud asked for a review of AOC’s Instagram presence. This is a little harder than it sounds because Instagram is a “walled garden” — Meta wants you to have an account to see content. Also, Instagram has (at least) three kinds of posts. There are regular posts, which are pictures with comments that live forever on your feed. Then there are “stories”, which are 30 second videos that last for a day and then disappear. Stories can be gathered into “features” that live forever, but the person posting needs to choose to do that. Then there are “reels”, which are longer videos. Basically, Instagram is trying to be Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube all in one. So to review AOC’s IG, I took some screenshots, and I’ll relay some other facts from memory, but its difficult to capture the entire flavor of what’s going on there.
AOC has an official Instagram feed and her personal feed. The official feed is curated/created by a staff member in her office. Her personal feed is created solely by her. She posted about this in a story a while ago, so I can’t link to it, but the gist of what she said is that she is still learning the best way to do social media, and she’s settled on IG because she found the platform easier to use to express herself than Twitter. Her Twitter posting has tapered down since she started using Instagram more heavily. Note that she has 8.5 million followers on IG, which is a lot for a politician but not much compared to, say, Beyonce, who has 265 million followers.
I tried to use a service called Imgur to embed screenshots, but it appears to be broken. So you’ll have to follow the links to see the screenshots. The first set of shots is some of her Roe v Wade posting. As you can see, she’s explaining why Obama couldn’t pass a reproductive rights bill. Her highlight on this also go into details about Plan C, deleting period apps, and so forth. Her frenchie Deco is often featured in her IG content, as he is here.
This one is a set of posts about her congressional trip to Puerto Rico. It’s a pretty typical example of her explainers – she goes into depth, solicits questions from her audience, and presents both sides of an issue.
If you do have an Instagram account, you can go to her page and view highlights on issues like inflation and vaccines. She also has an interesting one on hospitality work where she explains the pros and cons of a job like bartending versus a 9-5 job. This was in response to an “ask me anything” question from one of her followers.
Her use of social media is a foreshadowing of how other politicians will use social media in the future. She uses Twitter for a more official public presence, where she’s quick to clap back at selected Republicans who say stupid things, and to make announcements. Instagram is where she is more relatable and human, where she goes in depth with longer reels and Q&As.
AOC does very little (to no) bashing of other Democrats, nor does she do much of anything she’s commonly accused of in the comments here. When she does discuss her Democratic colleagues, she tries to explain why they vote or act a certain way, and those explanations are pretty interesting. For example, she has noted that she is in a privileged place compared to many of her colleagues because she doesn’t need to fundraise. It is a little-noted fact about DC that most Senators and Representatives spend hours on the phone every week talking to prospective big donors, and also spend a lot of time at fundraisers in their district. For the average constituent, this is wasted time — their Rep could be spending it actually doing something that matters. Another point she’s made in the past is the snail’s pace of advancement in the House, where you have to hang around for years to work your way up the committee and leadership ladder.
Finally, in the comments yesterday there were questions about AOC’s comment that Biden could build healthcare clinics on federal land, given the Hyde Amendment’s prohibition on using federal funds for abortions. Here’s former front pager Angry Black Lady’s take on that. My take in the comments was that there are plenty of ways to weasel around the Hyde Amendment, such as having the feds build the main clinic and then having Planned Parenthood build nearby and handle the abortions there. In this, as in many other issues, AOC is not afraid to throw something against the wall and see if it sticks. Her current use of Instagram reflects that trait.