The Hill: Steve Daines: Not your average lawmaker on Snapchat

As a fifth-generation Montanan, Republican Sen. Steve Daines has spent quite a bit of time outdoors. When he isn’t busy pushing legislation in D.C., he’s back home working with constituents and spending his free time in nature.

Like an increasing number of fellow legislators, Daines uses Snapchat to connect with his constituents when he’s on and off the road. His snaps, under the handle @SteveDaines, have garnered acclaim from those inside of the Beltway and out, and he has even earned recognition from the company itself. Daines was the first member to be featured in Snapchat’s Capitol Hill live story, has received more than 15 million total views on his snaps and has even recruited five fellow senators to the join the social media service.

But unlike your typical member of Congress, Daines is as likely to Snapchat from the Montana wilderness as he is from a committee meeting. On Friday, he’ll be taking over The Hill’s Snapchat account (@thehilldotcom) where he will be giving a peek into life in his district. For those looking to improve their own nature shots, the senator has a few tips for snapchatting in the wild.

Don’t fear the dead zones

Daines is very familiar with losing service. While deep in the Montana mountain ranges he often loses cellphone reception. “I don’t worry too much about losing service,” he says. “You can continue to send and to stack up your snaps, so that when you get back into service it will send them out. But, here’s the watchout,” he adds. “If you run out of juice in your battery, you lose everything and lose all your snapchats. So, it’s important to carry around a Mophie or some other battery pack with you. Very important, especially if you’re going to be out of service for a while.”

Zip up

“Don’t drop your phone in the river, that’s very important,” Daines says. “I keep my phone in a pocket that has a zipper on it while I’m hiking. And be careful, if you ever put your phone in your pocket outdoors and you don’t have a zipper on it and you lean over, you could lose your phone … and more importantly, all your snaps. I always keep it in a very safe place and I always keep my pocket zipped shut. Because when you’re outdoors you’re moving fast and you’re crossing streams and such, you always want to keep it in a secure place.”

Keep things on the up and up

When it comes to the great portrait versus landscape layout debate, Sen. Daines is staunchly on Team Portrait. He suggests fighting the urge to turn your phone in order to capture a wide sunset or rolling mountain range. “I stay portrait on Snapchat. It keeps the convention there, so if people are following you on Snapchat, they know they don’t have to be moving their phone around. So I always keep it portrait. If there’s a beautiful sunset or vista, I’ll do a panoramic with my phone.”

Learn to act fast

When it comes to capturing the skittish Montana wildlife, Daines says you need to act fast. “When there are animals around, you’ve got to be ready,” he says. “You’ve got to know how to quickly get your phone and get your Snapchat app opened up, because you might miss the moment if you’re too slow. You’ve got to have a quick draw.”

Spread your best snaps

Don’t be shy about cross-posting your best snaps to other platforms. “Just recently, it was Mother’s Day and I was standing with my wife and my mom,” Daines says, “and we had a double rainbow. That was one of those Snapchats you never forget, it was absolutely beautiful. We captured it not only in a Snapchat, but I posted it on Instagram, and Facebook as well. We wanted everyone to be able to enjoy it.”


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