Take former President Barack Obama sitting down to mimic the format started by user @underthedesknews, who shares news updates from the floor. The obviously scripted bit from earlier this week was meant to encourage people to get out and vote in the midterm election as the camera zooms in and out at random moments.
Still, there were plenty of non-conservative people who found the video jarring. Or as one commenter responded, “yikes.”
From the stilted script to the awkward body language, the video shows just how out-of-touch politicians can appear on TikTok. It’s the perfect distillation of the “how do you do, fellow kids” conundrum: trying to appease young people, aesthetically, only makes the generational divide more distinct.
Sure, the occasional politician manages to blend in with the platform’s crowd. In his 2020 quest to become senator of Georgia, Jon Ossof successfully hopped on trends—and gained an intense following on the app. Rhode Island State Senator Tiara Mack has also utilized the app to engage with young voters. And local politicians have found some success in reaching their communities through the platform.
But even then, not every young politician is capable of adapting to the whims and fancies of the notoriously cutthroat platform. Just look at Beto ORouke half-heartedly shaking his hips for a chance to flirt with TikTok virality. One commenter pointed out his use of the “millennial pause” and summed up their thoughts with the skull emoji. And this is a candidate who’s by and large popular among Gen Z.
According to UC San Diego Political Science Professor Thad Kousser because people are drawn to TikTok’s perceived authenticity, seeing a congressional candidate awkwardly hijack a thirst trap is definitively inauthentic.
So too are videos that are clearly scripted and approved by a communications team that so often don’t fully grasp the language of the internet.
Perhaps then, before a politician jokingly attempts to order a negroni sbagliato, it might be best for them to test the video with some teens. Or, at the very least, hire someone who can adequately capture all the nuances of a trending Taylor Swift lyric. - Kristin Snyder
Not surprisingly, Elon Musk’s manic approach to change at Twitter has some venture capitalists keeping a close eye on competing apps.
On this episode of Office Hours, Tomo co-founder and CEO Greg Schwartz talks about how his work at Zillow and as an ad executive led him to co-found a digital mortgage startup.
Scrubs maker FIGS gained a win in court this week after a jury found there was no merit to the false advertising and misleading business practices claims brought by rival medical apparel maker Strategic Partners Inc. (SPI).
ABC Signature tapped former vice president of series Sydnee Rimes to SVP of series while Gen Z coffee brand Chamberlain Coffee added Liz Ahern as chief marketing officer.
Zest AI, a Burbank-based online financial platform intended to improve credit underwriting, raised $50 million in a new growth round co-led by Insight Partners and CMFG Ventures.
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What We’re Reading...
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