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AOC\'s Instagram stories. Made with Canva
AOC\'s Instagram stories. Made with Canva
Original illustration by Lani Beaudette / Canva

AOC’s Instagram: An Inside Look At The Life Of The Congresswoman

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at WVU chapter.

Like many other politically informed members of Gen-Z, I follow congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, otherwise known as AOC, on Instagram. AOC is a 30-year-old woman who is a representative for the 14th district of New York, which encompasses her hometown of Queens and a portion of the Bronx. Most politicians use Twitter to communicate with their constituents, but AOC is one of the few members of congress who is very active on her personal Instagram. Her 6.4 million followers keep up with her as she posts about her job,  personal life and political opinions. 

On her Instagram stories, AOC is honest, transparent and shares information that is not always accessible. This gives her followers an inside look at the official business of Congress. Often, the work of Congress is done behind closed doors. This makes it seem like AOC is sharing secrets with her followers, but she is just being completely transparent about her job. She is raw and real, sharing her personal triumphs and disappointments. In a way, it feels like she is talking to her followers as if they are her friends. She makes politics seem relatable, rather than something that only elite and highly educated society members can participate in. 

AOC frequently goes “live” on Instagram, which is a video that is shown to her followers in real time. Occasionally, she shows her followers the dinner that she is cooking that night while talking about important news from Congress, such as updates on her sponsored bill, The Green New Deal. She also incorporates a lot of Instagram stories that are done Q&A style. She posts a blank question box, and her followers can ask her anything they want. She shares answers to multiple questions, sometimes responding with paragraphs of information. When COVID-19 first came to America in March, AOC was posting stories answering questions about unemployment, rent relief and the first stimulus package. While wrapping up a discussion about rent relief during the pandemic, she shared a margarita recipe with her followers. Her secret ingredient? Pineapple juice. “Have you ever had a point in your life where the federal government did too much for you?” she asked, as she mixed her ingredients together in a blender. Many of the questions she answers on her story are general questions that are useful to every American, not just her constituents. This unique way of sharing information can reach many people, faster than a press conference or news release. She also shares important links and resources almost daily. 

As we learned from the start of the 2016 presidential primaries, President Donald Trump is very active on his Twitter account. Is social media the new norm for politicians and political candidates? Well, it’s a great tool for politicians to communicate and interact directly with their constituents in a personal way. Instagram is perfect for sharing resources because public pages can utilize the “swipe-up” tool to share important links, such as voter registration or local polling locations. The younger generations who grew up with social media are more likely to get their news or political information from social media than traditional news outlets. If social media accounts are getting the attention of young voters, then it may be a worthy strategy for more politicians to explore. 

The bottom line is, AOC goes above and beyond for not only her constituents but for her Instagram followers as well. She shows that she cares about informing the general public about her daily duties and her job. This transparency is refreshing in an age of political scandals. AOC is making politics more accessible for the average American citizen, especially young voters who don’t know where to get started. She has taken Washington D.C. by storm and has shown her fellow women and latinx followers that anyone can do the job if they’re willing to put in the work to get there. 

Juliet is a senior at West Virginia University and is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in political science. She is interested in using her knowledge as a public relations student to work in government or politics.
Rachel is a graduate student at WVU majoring in journalism with minors in Appalachian studies, history and political science. In addition to writing for Her Campus, she is also a publicity intern for Arts and Entertainment and a news intern for Univerisity Relations. She is from Princeton, West Virginia and loves her state and its beautiful mountains. She is passionate about many things including dogs, musicals and the Mountaineers.