TikTok and the NS election: The occasions, they’re a-changin’

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

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

However because the video-sharing app — which is particularly standard amongst Technology Z and Millennials –– surged in recognition during the last two years, some candidates are turning to it this time round to achieve 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, stated the rising platform might be a great way for politicians to attach with individuals by displaying them a extra accessible, private aspect.

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“It’s good if they have a platform on social media to kind of show who they really are, because behind the scenes with a lot of politicians, you don’t know what they’re all about,” stated Taylor.

“Whereas if they’re posting things about who they are, you’re saying, ‘OK, I know this person now, I know their sense of humour, I 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

Disillusioned with low voter turnout in earlier municipal elections, the 23-year-old ran for mayor of Halifax final 12 months with one purpose in thoughts: to get extra individuals to solid their ballots.

“The goal was never really to win,” stated Taylor, who completed third within the race.

“I wanted people to vote, I wanted people my age to vote specifically, and a lot of people my age voted and that was a really cool thing 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 needed to be taken severely — although he nonetheless confronted disparaging feedback about his interest and his age in the course of the election.

As properly, a lot of his followers dwell exterior Nova Scotia and wouldn’t know a lot in regards to the election. Nonetheless, trying 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 young person in politics, being brand new to the field, I was so focused on being taken seriously that I didn’t use the resources that were available to me,” he stated.

“If you genuinely believe that what you’re doing is the right thing to do, there’s nothing wrong with having a little bit of fun 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 trainer who taught center college final 12 months, stated he grew to become “very aware” by way of his college students of simply how massive a platform TikTok was.

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“I know that TikTok is a very powerful and engaging way of reaching people, having really authentic and genuine conversations, and as a teacher, TikTok really fits with my teaching style in the classroom,” stated Paterson, 32.

“It’s fun, it’s genuine, it’s authentic, but it also has a lot of meaning behind it in the messages we’re communicating with people.”

He was additionally impressed by federal occasion chief Jagmeet Singh, who got some attention during the last federal election for his TikTok movies.

Paterson created his first TikTok publish 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 stated 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 is not good for democracy. People need to be engaged citizens, people have a right to have a voice in shaping a government that serves their needs as people in their province, and we need to make sure that people are engaged in that democratic process, especially young people,” he stated.

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“The decisions that government make impact young people on an everyday basis and it’s going to impact the future of their planet.”

Thus far, Paterson has posted movies of himself doing marketing campaign preparations, reminiscent of constructing indicators and getting ready for a information convention, however he’s additionally used his platform to focus on points reminiscent of local weather change, wealth inequality and highway security.

The engagement to date has been “incredibly wonderful,” stated Paterson, who stated his TikTok account creates an accessible approach for individuals to get ahold of him and ask him questions.

He additionally stated 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 engage, I can make video replies, and it really creates a rich, back-and-forth two-way engagement that is quite meaningful and really important when running an election campaign to represent people,” he stated.

‘A lot of fun’

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

“Just by creating these videos, I’m having a lot of fun and that’s really the energy I want to bring to the campaign,” stated Balser, 35.

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Normally, Balser’s social media app of alternative 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 remains to be pretty new, with solely three movies to date. The movies present her placing up election indicators and selecting up rubbish on the aspect of the highway.

Balser stated she has numerous concepts for future movies. By means of her work with group improvement, she stated she has spoken to many younger individuals in regards to the issues they’re involved about.

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“A part of my team that I work with are all folks under the age of 30, and their energy and their desire to also use these platforms and teach me in that capacity has also meant I can now take a political stance and be able to speak to solutions and driving actions in a whole new way,” she stated.

“We need to address education and employment, and I really think that by looking at those social issues through that progressive lens, those are the messages that I want to be able to send.”

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Balser stated she believes TikTok — and no matter scorching new social media apps that may launch down the highway — might be essential for candidates in future elections to achieve younger voters.

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

“Having young people on my campaign is also teaching me to be bold, and be brave and use these platforms that you might not use before, because another thing that I’m learning is it really is a lot of fun,” she stated.

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Alex Cooke

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