2022’s Unlikely Pairing: TikTok and The White House
By: Taylor Golemme
The growth of TikTok has been unmatched by other social media platforms this past year. According to TechCrunch, TikTok has become the 3rd largest platform in the world, just behind Instagram and Facebook. With all this growth, many companies and organizations are recognizing the power of social media, but more specifically the in-app creators. One of the most interesting uses of TikTok influencers is with one of the most important organizations in the nation: The White House.
While it may seem like an unlikely pairing, both TikTok and The White House have worked together to create content that speaks to a new generation of voters. This has recently been seen with influencers like Seth Phillips, otherwise known as the “Dude with a Sign”, who used his platform to promote vaccinations alongside President Joe Biden. In just three hours of the White House posting with this influencer on their official Instagram page, they received over one million likes (Washingtonian, 2021).
One of the most unique approaches to utilizing influencers within The White House was seen this past week. The White House created and hosted an event for 30 influencers as they shared key details of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. TikTok influencers like Kahlil Green, who has over 6 million followers, and the @GenZForChange account were invited to a Zoom call, hosted by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, to hear information about U.S. protocol for the ongoing situation in Ukraine. (Fortune, 2022). Each influencer created content following the meeting to inform and engage with their follower bases. This easy spread of information not only gained followers for the influencers, but gives TikTok users a sense of transparency on The White House’s perspective.
Some criticism was seen after Saturday Night Live poked fun at the influencer event during their “Tiktokers” sketch recently; However, this use of influencers could actually be a potential tactic to educate and possibly help in preventing Russian propaganda from reaching the For-You pages of many Gen-Z TikTok users. Everyone has their own opinions on influencers, but their power and influence cannot go unnoticed.