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April 2023

How Aaron Rupar leveraged Snapstream to amass more than 4 billion video views on Twitter

Video tweets






Video views







Aaron Rupar



If you follow news on Twitter, you’ve probably watched a video clip from Aaron Rupar. He’s one of the platform’s top video posters—tweeting more than 23,000 different video clips, which collectively have more than four billion views. Rupar is known for posting provocative videos from cable news segments, the House and Senate floors, White House press conferences and more. While Rupar lends his own commentary to his audience, viewers who share his videos add their own comments on the clips, stirring up conversation. In total, his clips have gotten more than 60 million likes, retweets, replies and quote tweets.

Rupar started posting videos with SnapStream when he was a writer at ThinkProgress, continued while he was working at Vox and now runs his own newsletter where he often embeds videos he’s posted that relate to whatever topic he’s covering. He only had around 6,000 followers when he started and he’s now approaching 900,000 followers. Rupar has been able to steadily grow his revenue by converting his Twitter followers into thousands of paid subscribers to his newsletter. When Rupar posts referral links attached to his SnapStream-powered viral video threads, he’s even able to reach potential subscribers well beyond his own sizable audience.


The impact of Rupar's first viral moment

Rupar's first big video clip hit in October of 2017. The video featured former President Donald Trump’s then Chief of Staff John Kelly saying Confederate General Robert E. Lee was an “honorable man” and that his inability to compromise was what led to the Civil War.

Rupar's tweet of the clip drew in over two million views and nearly 4,000 people quote tweeted it, which made it possible for the moment to circulate widely rather than coming and going in an instant on live TV.

Kelly's comments ignited a nationwide conversation and drew backlash from prominent figures like Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter Bernice King, who called his words "irresponsible and dangerous." The video was featured in dozens articles from publications including BBC, Buzzfeed News, Esquire, Chicago Tribune and Business Insider.

The number of quote tweets Rupar gets is indicative of why so many people follow him. They see he’s posted an interesting video and want to offer their take on it. In a way, Rupar is providing Twitter users with content to put in their own feed so they can express their own views on news, politics, and current events.

Rupar is careful with how he puts together the moments he posts. He provides enough context to protect against accusations of taking statements out of context, but he also has to make sure the videos he posts will be interesting and digestible for his audience. He says he spends considerable time making sure his videos fairly represent what people are saying but are also likely to engage Twitter users, along with his commentary.

“You could post a two minute clip from a Biden interview, but if the clip you really want people to see within that is buried a minute in, way over half the people will never get there to see that,” Rupar says. “It’s that fine line of making sure you have ample context, and it’s informative and doesn’t leave people guessing as to what’s going on, but you don’t want it to be so long that it’s boring and people don’t want to watch it.”

David Clinch, a media consultant who’s been in the industry for over 30 years, says Rupar’s experience as a journalist is an important part of his success. Anyone could start posting videos of what’s going on in politics and get some attention, but a good journalist knows how to find the moments that matter and represent them fairly. 

“The way in which Aaron combines his experience as a journalist with his social media savvy to be able to quickly identify the clips that will get the most traction, and describe them in a responsible way, makes him the perfect practitioner for SnapStream,” Clinch says. “He can monitor and search multiple incoming channels at the same time and make quick decisions about what to clip, but is also always careful to make sure his descriptions and framing are accurate.”

"There's always been a big demand for clips but now in this modern era everybody can have access to them. You don't have to be a producer with a library of footage," Rupar said in an interview with SnapStream’s Rakesh Agrawal in 2022. "It does kind of turn everybody into a reporter."

Rupar says he’s found SnapStream is “by far” the easiest and quickest way to post video clips on Twitter, and he says it’s only gotten easier as the platform has grown. He credits SnapStream with helping him grow such a large audience, having just shy of 6,000 followers when he first became a user of the product. He says it was a crucial part of him being able to build on his success at Vox and to start his own business as an independent journalist. 

4.8 Million Quote Tweets

Among the millions of people who share Rupar's video clips are a long roster of influential figures:


  • Lebron James
  • Chrissy Teigen
  • John Legend
  • 50 Cent
  • Ice Cube
  • Kerry Washington
  • Mark Ruffalo


  • Sarah Silverman
  • Jimmy Kimmel
  • Chelsea Handler
  • Patton Oswalt
  • Seth Myers
  • Billy Eichner
  • Judd Apatow


  • Joe Biden
  • Kamala Harris
  • Donald Trump, Jr.
  • Ivanka Trump
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Ted Cruz

Journalists & Commentators

  • Piers Morgan
  • Ben Shapiro
  • Jake Tapper
  • Lauren Ingraham
  • Paul Krugman
  • Chris Hayes

Side Note

Rupar was briefly banned from Twitter 

The ban occurred late last year after Elon Musk took over the platform for posting a link to a Facebook page that was tracking the movements of Musk’s private jet. Many others were banned for the same reason. His account was reinstated, but things were up in the air for a while. 

“Somewhat ironically, getting suspended from Twitter turned me into one of Twitter’s main characters. My name was the top trending topic in the US for parts of both Thursday and Friday. Seeing a stream of praise about my work on Twitter while I couldn’t respond to it was a bit like watching my own wake, but it was very gratifying,” Rupar wrote about the experience.


"There have been times where I've been able to effectively cover events on my mobile phone thanks to SnapStream,” Rupar says.

“I'm able to zoom through events using faster playback, and copy and paste quotes with the transcript function. SnapStream is just a much more efficient way to cover events with video than other services.”

Becoming one of the top video clip posters on Twitter was never his plan, Rupar says, but he’s thoroughly enjoyed watching people engage with his videos and starting his own venture.

Rupar says his favorite moment on Twitter so far was when one of his videos got quote tweeted by LeBron James. 

Going viral… again, and again, and again

15.6 million views
11.8 million views
11.7 million views
8.3 million views

How SnapStream helps Aaron Rupar make moments that matter


Aaron, how have we helped you go faster?

SnapStream is by far the quickest way to post clips on Twitter. No other service that I’m aware of has Twitter integration and so if you’re looking to cover events in real time, there is no substitute. I doubt I would’ve been able to build a career as the video thread guy without SnapStream.

How have we enabled you to do more with less?

There have been times where I’ve been able to effectively cover events on my mobile phone thanks to SnapStream. I’m able to zoom through events using faster playback, and copy and paste quotes with the transcript function. SnapStream is just a much more efficient way to cover events with video than other services.

Aaron Rupar spoke with SnapStream CEO Rakesh Agrawal about how video clips and moments have been integral to his career as a journalist in front of a live audience at the Online News Association conference in September 2022.

How have we made your clipping process more sustainable, more reliable?

SnapStream recordings are very reliable, so I can rest assured that even if I can’t catch an event live, it will be there for me in the SnapStream library when I get around to watching.

How have you been able to get content you wouldn’t have found otherwise?

There have been many instances where I’ve seen someone post something online about a notable cable segment that just happened, and I’ve used SnapStream to go back and post a clip. In that way SnapStream helps me stay on top of the news even when I’m not watching.

How have we helped you grow your audience?

My audience has grown from about 5,000 Twitter followers in the fall of 2017, just before I started using SnapStream, to over 800,000 now. That growth has been exponential largely due to the videos and threads I’ve posted using SnapStream. It allowed me to leave Vox to start my own business and make a living as an independent journalist.

How have we enabled you to rise above the noise?

When I started posting videos in 2017, there weren’t that many accounts doing it, and so I was able to establish myself as an authoritative source for real-time political coverage. My job was writing about politics, but my audience grew because of the video work made possible by SnapStream.

Ready to make moments?

Since becoming a SnapStream user, Aaron Rupar has been able to grow a sizable audience that he's monetized to go independent.

Built for businesses, SnapStream empowers your users to make the most of any live video to make moments that matter and build your brand—and theirs!—while having greater impact.