If you follow NPR on Twitter you may have been seeing yellow this morning, and not just because it’s the first day of fall. NPR’s traditional red/black/blue avatar has been replaced by the Snapchat ghost with the familiar logo nestled in the center, and you can now add @NPRnews as a friend on Snapchat to follow their story as they post clips of Pope Francis’s visit to Washington, D.C.
Amidst the stream of breakfast and cat snaps, two NPR interns appear on your “Stories” page. They’re at the parade preceding the official welcome ceremony for Pope Francis at the White House. The story is about two minutes of videos featuring people lining the streets, kids patiently playing games as they wait, and short clips of journalists interviewing bystanders.
The approach of creating a profile for a major news outlet that users must “friend” to follow marks a major shift in autonomy for social media marketing. Instead of waiting for Snapchat to designate a live story that automatically appears in every user’s feed, NPR can decide which events to cover and populate the account with content from an intimate, behind the scenes perspective. User stories are only visible for 24 hours, but you can watch it as many times as you’d like before it’s gone.
You can follow the rest of Pope Francis’s visit to the capital by using the hashtag #PopeInDC and after today, #PopeinUS.