Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton admits that selfie have changed campaigning, at least a little bit.
In an interview with the Daily Times Herald of Carroll, Iowa, the former Secretary of State said that selfies have made campaigning in large crowds much more difficult for her because she can’t do meet-and-greets without being overwhelmed by selfie requests.
“This whole phenomenon of everybody carrying around their cameras does interfere, not so much in a smaller group like this,” she said of being amid a crowd of about 80 in Caroll.
“But in a bigger group like we were in Ames, people, all they wanted was their pictures,” Clinton said. “I didn’t get the quality of interaction that I got right here because the group was smaller.”
Though Clinton said the percentage of people asking important questions seems to have dipped slightly in recent years, she denied that the selfie culture has dramatically reduced quality interactions with voters overall.
“For younger people, it’s as important as anything they could have asked me. So I just say, ‘OK, we’re going to do it.'”
“I had some really meaningful interactions in and amongst all the selfies,” Clinton said.
Much as they had to adapt to YouTube in 2008 and 2012, presidential candidates are all learning how to cope with the flood of supporters seeking selfies this election cycle.
According to The New York Times, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has a strategy for taking selfies with his shorter fans. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has added 20 minutes onto campaign appearances so he can pose for selfies. Despite misgivings, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) spent two hours in New Hampshire recently chatting with primary voters and taking selfies.
Clinton isn’t nearly as selfie-averse as others in the 2016 field.
Earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson decried the selfie in the “Spring Cleaning” edition of The Washington Post.
“Beyond the obvious narcissism of endlessly photographing oneself and blasting it over social networks for others to admire, selfies are dangerous — to animals, sports spectators, artwork and the rest of us,” Carson wrote.
The neurosurgeon reserved his strongest criticism for the “selfie stick.”
“The selfie stick ushers in a new, even worse and more dangerous era for the form,” he said. “The stick doesn’t just validate selfies by building a cottage industry around them. It also says, ‘Snap them everywhere!'”
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