SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch mourned the recent loss of Snapchat’s dancing hotdog.
“He will be missed. We will always be grateful for his service as a brand ambassador for Utah's pork industry,” the Utah Republican tweeted in September.
Snapchat took down its goofy dancing hotdog filter much to the chagrin of many users, including the 83-year-old senator, or at least his office staff, which handles the majority of Hatch's social media posts.
Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock said while the dancing hotdog might be silly, it helped the senator spread the word about the importance of trade legislation.
And it also apparently makes Hatch look hip.
Utah's congressional delegation uses social media — mostly Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube — to varying degrees. Most posts are straightforward takes on issues of the day, though they sometimes throw in some jabs and counterpunches mixed with occasional attempts at humor.
Hatch is the most prolific and Rep. Rob Bishop the least.
"Rep. Bishop has yet to tweet a single character, though I think his sense of humor would make him a great tweeter," said Bishop spokesman Lee Lonsberry.
Sen. Mike Lee's more than 378,000 followers on Twitter eclipses all the other members of the Utah delegation combined. But he tweets much less than Hatch, who has an account for himself and another for his office.
Rep. Chris Stewart composes his own tweets, while for the other officeholders, it's a combination of themselves and staff. Hatch marks his personal tweets with "ogh," which doesn't stand for "original gangster," though his staff doesn't mind if people think that.
Sometimes they take flak for their tweets and pull them down, like Stewart did in September. The congressman took a jab at liberals' reaction to President Donald Trump calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man" in his speech to the United Nations.
"Laughing. Liberals going nuts after prez UN speech. His idea = defend freedom. Their respond = drink 18 glasses of water and wet pants," Stewart tweeted, but then quickly deleted the post.
Stewart and Rep. Mia Love are most active on Instagram. Newly elected Rep. John Curtis is launching official congressional Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts and plans to continue doing Facebook Live. Curtis also does his own tweeting when it's "personal in nature or expresses my feelings."
Social media is part of each office's communications strategy, though they all take different approaches.
Lee spokesman Conn Carroll said it gives the senator an "unfiltered" channel to constituents.
"We don’t need to depend on other media outlets to cover the senator. We can communicate directly with Utahns," he said.
Carroll also said it lets the office listen, too. Staffers don't read every Facebook or Twitter comment, but most of them, especially if they're clearly from Utah.
"And we do take these comments to heart," he said.
Hatch's office uses social media to make quick announcements, particularly for national media. It also has tried to find more creative ways to deliver a message with designs on making it viral, Whitlock said.
The senator's pun-filled Senate speech on medicinal marijuana blew up on Twitter in September.
Whitlock said social media also give Utahns a window into Hatch's life as a senator through commentary, video and pictures. Hatch, he said, likes the posts to be a reflection of his personality and sense of humor, "which can occasionally surprise people."
Hatch is fond of using twitter for self-deprecating age jokes, cataloguing outings to Chuck-A-Rama, joking with colleagues and defending Utah’s pork producers with the use of the Snapchat’s dancing hotdog, Whitlock said.
Curtis' office also intends to give constituents a behind-the-scenes look at being a congressman and getting things done for the state.3 comments on this story
Love's office finds that Facebook tends to reach more people, but Twitter is effective in getting out a direct message or statement, said Love spokesman Rich Piatt, adding people seem to share Twitter more, and the media monitors Twitter more.
Love also posts videos and has started a new podcast to be more engaging and personal, Piatt said.
Lee's office finds Facebook the most effective way to communicate with Utahns, who seem to be more active on there than people in other states.
Facebook has also become ground zero for “fake news” and the spreading of false information, Whitlock said. The first 10 to 20 comments are almost always negative with links to false information, he said.