Racing Twitter to the White House: 2016 Presidential Hopefuls on Social Media

As politicians make a run for the presidency, social media accounts are always in tow, with journalists in tow behind them to write about how candidates have social media accounts. Leigh Prather/Alamy

Updated | Every time a politician joins a social network, a news article comes out declaring that network could end up being the social platform of Election 2016. In January, when Jeb Bush introduced his super PAC, Right to Rise, via Instagram, The Washington Post was quick to ponder a 2016 "Instagram Election." Then in March, fledgling live-streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope appeared on the political scene as if from nowhere and presidential hopefuls, among them Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina, started clamoring to use the hot, new mobile apps to connect with the public; and suddenly we're in the throes of the Meer-i-scope Election.

We're still hearing a lot about "older" social media sites, Twitter and Facebook, too. Hillary Clinton recently let a small business owner take over her Twitter account for the day. And Bernie Sanders is practically a Facebook superstar with 1.2 million likes on his congress Facebook page, and quirky, "grumpy old guy" posts that attract tens of thousands of likes.

[Related: President Obama Takes to Twitter]

With all the talk about politics and social media, we decided to take a little inventory. As more and more politicians announce their 2016 presidential bids, we're recording who is using what social media platform. So far, Paul and Sanders are the most "social" of the bunch, with activity on seven of the eight social networks we examined. Interestingly, George Pataki doesn't yet have a presence on Instagram or LinkedIn, but has used both newer networks Meerkat and Periscope. And one thing that is quite clear is if you're running for president, you better have both a Facebook and Twitter account to show for it.

This is not a comprehensive list, as many politicians have yet to announce their candidacies, and Clinton could be joining Snapchat at this very second without us knowing; so check back here for updates as 2016 presidential campaigning gets underway.

candidate social media
Out of seven different social networks, an inventory of which 2016 U.S. presidential hopefuls are using what platforms so far. Hannah Sender

Update: Donald Trump formally announced his 2016 presidential bid after publication of this article. It has been updated to include Donald Trump's social media accounts.

Update: Chris Christie joined Snapchat after publication of this article. It has been updated to include his Snapchat presence.

Correction: This article originally did not include Snapchat accounts for Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham and Rick Perry. It has been corrected to reflect those accounts.