TikTok and the N.S. election: The instances, they’re a-changin’ – Halifax | Globalnews.ca

TikTok and the N.S. election: The times, they are a-changin’ - Halifax | Globalnews.ca

2021-07-22 14:30:41

Because the clock tick-tocks towards the 41st Nova Scotia election, some candidates are harnessing the ability of social media to get voters engaged.

TikTok was nonetheless pretty new and wasn’t on the radar for many Nova Scotians over the last provincial election in 2017.

However because the video-sharing app — which is particularly well-liked amongst Technology Z and Millennials –– surged in recognition during the last two years, some candidates are turning to it this time round to succeed in a brand new pool of people that historically don’t take part as a lot in politics.

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Max Emerson Taylor, a former Halifax mayoral candidate who has greater than 1,000,000 followers on TikTok, mentioned the rising platform might be a great way for politicians to attach with individuals by exhibiting them a extra accessible, private aspect.

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“It’s good if they’ve a platform on social media to form of present who they are surely, as a result of behind the scenes with a whole lot of politicians, you don’t know what they’re all about,” mentioned Taylor.

“Whereas in the event that they’re posting issues about who they’re, you’re saying, ‘OK, I do know this particular person now, I do know their sense of humour, I do know what they like.’”

Former Halifax mayoral candidate Max Emerson Taylor says TikTok generally is a good technique to interact with individuals.

Graeme Benjamin/International Information

Upset with low voter turnout in earlier municipal elections, the 23-year-old ran for mayor of Halifax final yr with one purpose in thoughts: to get extra individuals to solid their ballots.

“The purpose was by no means actually to win,” mentioned Taylor, who completed third within the race.

“I wished individuals to vote, I wished individuals my age to vote particularly, and lots of people my age voted and that was a very cool factor to see.”

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Regardless of his massive on-line following, Taylor didn’t use TikTok throughout his marketing campaign as a result of he wished to be taken critically — although he nonetheless confronted disparaging feedback about his passion and his age throughout the election.

As effectively, lots of his followers dwell exterior Nova Scotia and wouldn’t know a lot in regards to the election. Nonetheless, wanting again, Taylor wished he had used it extra to get the phrase out in regards to the significance of voting.

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“Being a teen in politics, being model new to the sphere, I used to be so centered on being taken critically that I didn’t use the sources that had been out there to me,” he mentioned.

“If you happen to genuinely consider that what you’re doing is the suitable factor to do, there’s nothing improper with having slightly little bit of enjoyable to get the message out.”

Two-way engagement

One candidate who’s having enjoyable on TikTok is David Paterson, the NDP candidate for Bedford South.

Paterson, a instructor who taught center faculty final yr, mentioned he turned “very conscious” via his college students of simply how massive a platform TikTok was.

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“I do know that TikTok is a really highly effective and interesting approach of reaching individuals, having actually genuine and real conversations, and as a instructor, TikTok actually matches with my instructing type within the classroom,” mentioned Paterson, 32.

“It’s enjoyable, it’s real, it’s genuine, but it surely additionally has a whole lot of which means behind it within the messages we’re speaking with individuals.”

He was additionally impressed by federal celebration chief Jagmeet Singh, who received some consideration over the last federal election for his TikTok movies.

Paterson created his first TikTok put up on the finish of June, as election hypothesis within the province ramped up. Since then, he’s attracted a following of greater than 400 individuals.

He mentioned he was involved about low voter turnout — fewer than 54 per cent of eligible voters solid a poll within the final election — and the extra methods to interact with the general public, the higher.

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“Low voter turnout isn’t good for democracy. Individuals must be engaged residents, individuals have a proper to have a voice in shaping a authorities that serves their wants as individuals of their province, and we have to guarantee that individuals are engaged in that democratic course of, particularly younger individuals,” he mentioned.

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“The selections that authorities make impression younger individuals on an on a regular basis foundation and it’s going to impression the way forward for their planet.”

Up to now, Paterson has posted movies of himself doing marketing campaign preparations, similar to constructing indicators and making ready for a information convention, however he’s additionally used his platform to focus on points similar to local weather change, wealth inequality and street security.

The engagement to this point has been “extremely great,” mentioned Paterson, who mentioned his TikTok account creates an accessible approach for individuals to get ahold of him and ask him questions.

He additionally mentioned the movies creates a way of authenticity that may assist break down the limitations between politicians and the general public.

“I can reply, I can interact, I could make video replies, and it actually creates a wealthy, back-and-forth two-way engagement that’s fairly significant and actually necessary when working an election marketing campaign to characterize individuals,” he mentioned.

‘A variety of enjoyable’

Jill Balser, the Progressive Conservative candidate for the Digby-Annapolis driving, didn’t initially intend to hitch TikTok, however she’s glad she did.

“Simply by creating these movies, I’m having a whole lot of enjoyable and that’s actually the vitality I wish to deliver to the marketing campaign,” mentioned Balser, 35.

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Often, Balser’s social media app of selection is Instagram. However realizing that platforms like Instagram and Fb aren’t reaching youthful individuals as a lot as they used to, she created a TikTok account with the assistance of a 19-year-old marketing campaign volunteer.

The TikTok account continues to be pretty new, with solely three movies to this point. The movies present her placing up election indicators and choosing up rubbish on the aspect of the street.

Balser mentioned she has plenty of concepts for future movies. By way of her work with neighborhood growth, she mentioned she has spoken to many younger individuals in regards to the issues they’re involved about.

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“Part of my workforce that I work with are all of us underneath the age of 30, and their vitality and their need to additionally use these platforms and educate me in that capability has additionally meant I can now take a political stance and be capable to converse to options and driving actions in a complete new approach,” she mentioned.

“We have to handle schooling and employment, and I actually suppose that by taking a look at these social points via that progressive lens, these are the messages that I would like to have the ability to ship.”

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Balser mentioned she believes TikTok — and no matter scorching new social media apps that may launch down the street — will likely be necessary for candidates in future elections to succeed in younger voters.

She added that along with having the ability to unfold her message, she’s additionally having a blast making content material.

“Having younger individuals on my marketing campaign can also be instructing me to be daring, and be courageous and use these platforms that you simply may not use earlier than, as a result of one other factor that I’m studying is it truly is a whole lot of enjoyable,” she mentioned.

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