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

Because the clock tick-tocks towards the 41stNova 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 last provincial election in 2017.

However because the video-sharing app — which is very common 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, mentioned the rising platform could possibly be a great way for politicians to attach with individuals by exhibiting them a extra accessible, private facet.

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“It’s good if they’ve a platform on social media to type of present who they are surely, as a result of behind the scenes with loads 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 have interaction with individuals.

Graeme Benjamin/World Information

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

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

“I needed individuals to vote, I needed individuals my age to vote particularly, and lots of people my age voted and that was a extremely 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 needed to be taken critically — although he nonetheless confronted disparaging feedback about his pastime and his age through the election.

As effectively, lots of his followers dwell outdoors 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 teenager in politics, being model new to the sphere, I used to be so targeted on being taken critically that I didn’t use the sources that had been accessible to me,” he mentioned.

“Should you genuinely imagine that what you’re doing is the proper factor to do, there’s nothing unsuitable with having just a little 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 12 months, mentioned he turned “very conscious” via his college students of simply how huge a platform TikTok was.

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“I do know that TikTok is a really highly effective and fascinating method of reaching individuals, having actually genuine and real conversations, and as a instructor, TikTok actually suits with my educating fashion within the classroom,” mentioned Paterson, 32.

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

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

Paterson created his first TikTok submit 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 forged a poll within the final election — and the extra methods to have interaction with the general public, the higher.

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“Low voter turnout just isn’t good for democracy. Folks have to 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 persons are engaged in that democratic course of, particularly younger individuals,” he mentioned.

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

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

The engagement up to now has been “extremely fantastic,” mentioned Paterson, who mentioned his TikTok account creates an accessible method 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 obstacles between politicians and the general public.

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

‘Loads of enjoyable’

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

“Simply by creating these movies, I’m having loads of enjoyable and that’s actually the vitality I need to carry to the marketing campaign,” mentioned Balser, 35.

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Normally, 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 up to now. The movies present her placing up election indicators and selecting up rubbish on the facet of the street.

Balser mentioned she has a number of concepts for future movies. By her work with group improvement, 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 below 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 method,” she mentioned.

“We have to deal with schooling and employment, and I actually assume 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 can launch down the street — can be vital 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 younger individuals on my marketing campaign can be educating 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 loads of enjoyable,” she mentioned.

© 2021 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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