In a time where more politicians are hopping onto social media to connect to the younger generation (millennials included), Instagram has become an important platform for them.
But do they know how the IG game works? Are they effective in their communications strategy?
Let this writer (disclaimer: not a social media guru) take you through some of our politicians' Instagram accounts and see if they're relatable and worth a follow. And no, we're not comparing them to the standard of an influencer because that's a whole other ball game.
Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament (PAP)
Tan Chuan-Jin is one of the fitspo 'influencers' among our local politicians, or as he might quip, an "influenza".
He's admitted before that he just started to familiarise himself with internet culture but it hasn't stopped him from winning the hearts of people one step at a time with his sincerity and candour.
He also recently revealed his geek status when he started talking about his housebound hobby of painting miniatures. As if we don't already know that he's indeed one of us from his love of internet memes. Oh, and he occasionally posts gorgeous nature shots and we want more of those. Must protecc!
IG Game: Almost there
Thoughts: The Speaker of Parliament is surprisingly open about his personal life, but still doesn't pass up an opportunity to post infographics about current government policies — which can be a little disharmonious to his grid's aesthetics.
Pritam Singh, Member of Parliament (WP)
It wasn't that long ago that Pritam used his social media platform to talk about the best burrito he's ever had.
However, if you dropped by his Instagram account for more food recommendations, you won't find them here. But, you'll find lots of photos of him with his constituents, some of him at work, and the occasional kopi with fellow WP politicians Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang.
IG Game: Needs some work
Thoughts: The Instagram account is being used as a way to magnify his passion for his work, but it would be better if we could learn more about him personally. He seems like a great MP, but can't tell much about him outside of work.
Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (PAP)
Fu's Instagram feed has been a breath of fresh air during the course of my research as there wasn't a flood of infographics and data being thrown in my face. Instead, we're treated to photos of her hard at work as a Member of Parliament (MP) and Minister, with some personal snaps scattered throughout.
Though her Instagram largely documents her professional life (as opposed to her personal life), it somehow feels inviting and warm. She has also impressed this writer with a particularly glamorous shot of her at the Singapore Biennale (as seen above). Effortlessly elegant and classy, major kudos.
IG Game: Strong
Thoughts: Would this be someone I would want to get coffee with while talking about the woes of youth? Definitely. But only if she tells me about her secret fountain of youth.
Sylvia Lim, Member of Parliament (WP)
Like most of the politicians listed here, Lim's Instagram feed is full of her work snaps but her sunny disposition portrayed in the photos makes her seem like everyone's favourite aunt who's sociable and beloved.
At times, her personality breaks through, like when she found a reference to the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and gleefully snapped a shot with it (as seen above) or when she made her "annual pilgrimage" to Singapore F1 Grand Prix. However, those moments are few and far between on her account.
Special mention has to be made about this woke post where Lim was attending a forum on women participation in politics alongside MP Tin Pei Ling and NMP Anthea Ong. #WeNeedMoreWomen indeed.
IG Game: Needs some work
Thoughts: A lot of work snaps going on, which again, isn't wrong. Still, she could benefit from some balance on Instagram, a platform where people can get a behind-the-scenes peek into the lives of popular figures.
Baey Yam Keng, Member of Parliament (PAP)
We can't talk about the Instagram accounts of politicians without having an entry about Baey. In 2013, he shot to fame when local pop culture website Popspoken wrote about his selfies. Since then, he's been #winning the social media game and is probably the closest thing to an influencer.
A selfie king turned bona fide Instagram power user, Baey frequently uses his platform to engage and connect with his residents. But for every post about work, he also gives us the gift of his megawatt smile or an artsy picture of him in the middle of a run. Clearly the man knows how to make the camera werk for him.
IG Game: Shamazing
Thoughts: Good mix of work and personal snaps (including selfies). Lots of fitness posts so you can either follow his workouts or admire his handsome mug — or better yet, both.
He Ting Ru (WP)
'Tis a time to rejoice because He is giving us everything that we want to see on Instagram.
She's giving us photo-editing, work life, family life, and best of all, her cats. Just from a simple scroll through her feed, one can tell that she wears many hats — a hands-on politician, a foodie, a baker, a mum who enjoys walks with her children, and a cat lover.
IG Game: Strong
Thoughts: As a youth wing secretary of WP, it's not surprising that He curates her Instagram account to some degree, which is pleasing on the eyes. Her openness about her life makes her seem approachable and I can see us chatting about her adorable cats.
Louis Ng, Member of Parliament (PAP)
At first glance, Ng's feed isn't that aesthetically pleasing, which is unfortunate because his messages are at risk of being lost among the hodgepodge of news video clips, articles, infographics, and pictures of his children and animals.
But if you know him as an active and vocal champion of animal welfare, then it comes through very strongly on his feed with cute doggie pictures. Yes, this writer can be a tad shallow at times when pictures of adorable floofs are enough to steal his heart.
IG Game: Has potential
Thoughts: Loving the candid shots of his personal life, but the sea of articles is a distraction from the Instagram-scrolling experience. Perhaps a more aesthetic approach for presenting said articles might work? More animal photos too, please?
Chee Soon Juan (SDP)
Oh dear, now this was rather challenging because Chee's feed appears to be confusing.
Aside from a lack of aesthetics, his content and messages (while present) were not presented and packaged in a manner that made it easy to consume. There's the occasional snaps of him on the job as part of the SDP, but those are drowned out by the eclectic mix of photos — whether they're stock, unedited or something that came out of a Facebook group for the middle-aged.
On the bright side (and no shade whatsoever), he seems to be a fitness junkie and we know how he's keeping in shape at 57. Time to take up cycling and running, guys.
IG Game: Needs some work
Thoughts: Instagram is clearly just another platform for Chee to spread his message but whatever content (while ample) that he wants to push is being overwhelmed by the cacophony of, dare we say it, unappealing photos.
Teo Ser Luck, Member of Parliament (PAP)
Is he a model? That was a big question for us while scrolling through Teo's feed because the man was serving us #OOTD (Outfit of The Day) realness while leaving important government messages to his captions. Not to mention that he's looking rather trim at 52. His outfits are nothing to scoff at too, because they look good despite the man keeping it simple and basic.
And based on his poses for his snaps, we wouldn't be surprised if he also signed up for Modelling 101 after stepping down as the Minister of State for Manpower in 2017. His boyish looks and physique are shown off in many of these photos, including this low-key thirst trap photo. No complaints there since he bears a resemblance to hunkle Chuando Tan.
IG Game: Strong
Thoughts: Let's just say that should Teo's children ever want to get on the gram, they're already off to a great start because their dad seems to know what he's doing on Instagram, even if it's not intentional.