TikTok: the home of dance trends, lip syncs, comedy skits and… Joe Biden?
The former Vice President made his short TikTok debut on the platform brimming with young voters, on an account specifically aimed at attracting those voters to engage in the news.
The Washington Post’s account, run by Dave Jorgenson, has gained over half a million followers for the newspaper with its playful, sometimes absurd but always amusing memes that fit perfectly on the app, and now Biden has jumped on board.
The Biden campaign have had to be careful in how the 77 year-old utilises his appearances, with over-exposure on unfamiliar sites like TikTok potentially being counterproductive, if overdone. One of Hillary Clinton’s shortcomings in 2016 was appearances in which she didn’t seem a natural fit, and repelled voters instead of embracing them with awkward and sometimes cringeworthy displays.
Biden’s digital director, Rob Flaherty, explained recently: “For us to try and force it by having him go on TikTok and Hit The Woah or whatever, that just doesn’t compute with who the guy is. And so, for us, it’s… how do we use these digital tools in ways that aren’t going to feel super weird for him to do?”
This sort of appearance on the Washington Post in which he simultaneously integrates a promotion of his basement based podcast, ‘Here’s the Deal‘, while making a stand on the donning of face-masks seems a suitable fit. It both pushes his clear contrast with Trump, who is publicly avoiding wearing a mask, while exposing his ideas (in the form of his podcast) to young voters – and that is something he needs to do.
A CNN analysis highlighted Biden’s problem with young voters, who were overwhelmingly in support of his progressive rivals such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren during the Democratic Primary battle.
The research showed that while Biden is winning by an average of 14 points with young voters in head-to-head polling against Trump, that number is around 10 points lower than the lead Clinton had over him in 2016. Clearly therefore, Biden has lots more work to do to attract and galvanise the young progressive wing of his party, and while a TikTok is hardly going to do that, it’s a move in a positive direction to get there.