Connect with us

Politics

TikTok Is Shaping Politics. But How? – The New York Times

Published

on


As a place where millions of young Americans perform and explore their identities in public, TikTok has become a prominent venue for ideological formation, political activism and trolling. It has homegrown pundits, and despite its parent company’s reluctance to being involved with politics — the service does not allow political ads — it has attracted interest from campaigns. It is also a space where people can be gathered and pressed into action quickly.

TikTok was instrumental in the organization of a mass false-registration drive ahead of a Trump rally in Tulsa, Okla., where many seats were unfilled. It has amplified footage of police brutality as well as scenes and commentary from Black Lives Matter protests around the world, with videos created and shared on the platform frequently moving beyond it. They carry TikTok’s distinctive and wide-ranging audiovisual vernacular: often playfully disorienting, carefully edited, arch and musical. It has been suggested by many, including The New York Times, that TikTok teens will save the world.

The truth is more complicated. A team of researchers has been analyzing political expression on TikTok since, well, before it was TikTok. While nonusers of TikTok may think it’s bursting onto the political stage rather suddenly, and that it has something like a collective political identity, the research gives a different picture.

It depicts a diverse, diffuse and not nearly united community of millions of young people discovering the capabilities and limits of a platform that is, despite its many similarities with predecessors, a unique and strange place.

In an email exchange, Ioana Literat, an assistant professor of communication and media at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, an assistant professor of communication at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, discussed the characteristics of political expression on TikTok and why it feels like a novel phenomenon.

This interview has been edited.

The idea that TikTok is an engine for progressive young politics is gaining some currency among people who don’t use the platform. What might outsiders be surprised to find on TikTok, in terms of youth political expression? Is there anything resembling consensus?

Ioana Literat: I’ve noticed this tendency recently, not only on older social media like Twitter but also in the press. It plays into larger debates about youth civic attitudes — and especially youth civic attitudes online — which tend to verge between utopia and dystopia.

On the one hand, youth are hailed (or tokenized — think Greta Thunberg and the Parkland youth) as the future of democracy, for whom political expression comes easy. But on the other hand, people are worried about how they don’t show up at the polls, or fall prey to misinformation, or don’t care about newspapers anymore. And all of these are true; it’s not an either/or kind of situation.

Neta Kligler-Vilenchik: Extreme views, ranging from dystopian to utopian, are voiced not only in regard to youth, but also in regard to any media phenomenon that is significant and new. As early as Socrates’s concern that the written word would eradicate wisdom, every new technology has been believed to either be our savior (the internet will bring people around the world into one global community!) or our doom (robots will make us all unemployed!).

To me, this continuity is quite reassuring, because it shows us that our fears and hopes are not so much around the traits of the specific new technology, rather they are broad societal fears and hopes that are projected onto whatever technology is new and not yet understood. To most of its adult commenters, TikTok is a big unknown.

Dr. Literat: In terms of youth political expression, while there’s a dynamic and influential liberal activist community on TikTok, there’s actually plenty of conservative political expression, and pro-Trump voices definitely find an audience on the platform.

We found this to be true in our early research on Musical.ly, in the aftermath of the 2016 election, and it’s still true today on TikTok, as we’re gearing up for the 2020 election. On TikTok, you can find powerful political statements and activist organizing. You can find young people lip-syncing speeches by Trump or Obama (both earnestly and sarcastically). You can also find plenty of racist and sexist content, conspiracy theories and misinformation, and kids showing off their gun collections and posing with Confederate flags.

It’s hard to refer to what we see on the platform as consensus. Rather, we find that TikTok enables collective political expression for youth — that is, it allows them to deliberately connect to a like-minded audience by using shared symbolic resources.

Dr. Kligler-Vilenchik: Shared symbolic resources can be physical (MAGA hats), visual (the closed fist for the Black Lives Matter movement) or hashtags (#alllivesmatter). TikTok-specific elements like viral dances, popular soundtracks, etc. are also shared symbolic resources that help facilitate connections and foreground the collective aspects of youth political expression.

Are there novel ways in which political conflict unfolds on TikTok? It doesn’t seem to be especially well suited to the sorts of conflict we’re familiar with on some older platforms.

Dr. Literat: There’s relatively little crosscutting political talk (i.e. across partisan lines, with politically heterogeneous others). And when it does happen, it’s not very productive. It’s still a very polarized discussion of us v. them.

Something that’s pretty special about TikTok in terms of both political expression and political dialogue/conflict is that it’s all filtered through young people’s personal identities and experiences. Political dialogue on the platform is very personal, and youth will often state diverse social identities — e.g. Black, Mexican, L.G.B.T.Q., redneck, country — in direct relation to their political views.

Not to say that political talk on other social media platforms is not personal, but having done comparative analyses, we’re really struck by just how front-and-center youth identities are on TikTok.

Dr. Kligler-Vilenchik: If we return to the idea of collective political expression as the ability to speak to a like-minded audience through shared symbolic resources, we see that this enables at least the potential for a conversation across political views.

So, some users may choose to tag their video with #bluelivesmatter and speak to a certain audience. But they can also choose to tag their video with #blacklivesmatter, and that way reach a different audience, with a different view. Often this is done ironically, as a parody of others’ views (e.g., a video tagged #whitelivesmatter that goes on to explain the idea of white privilege), but it may also be a way to spark conversation between sides.

Lastly, if you’ve been able to check in, have you noticed anything surprising about youth expression on TikTok around BLM, racism and policing in the last few weeks?

Dr. Literat: The collective aspects of youth political expression — which materialize, for instance, in frequently used songs like Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” — are very salient in the context of BLM-related expression on TikTok.

Like hashtags, these songs function as connective threads among the videos. At the same time, there is such a wide variety in terms of style and ethos of expression, from anger to silliness to humor, from confessionals to original songs to footage of protests to memes to interviews or oral histories.

There’s also a sense of generational awareness and generational solidarity, which is connected to this concept of collective political expression. On footage of protests, you see a lot of comments like “Gen Z is changing the world,” “our generation is so powerful,” “I love our generation with all my heart” — which is really interesting because generations, and especially terms like Gen Z or Gen Alpha, are how outsiders (academics, commenters, brands, etc.) usually refer to youth.

It may be that youth are reclaiming these terms to assert their agency, or perhaps these larger societal discourses are seeping into youth discourse too.

Dr. Kligler-Vilenchik: Looking at what’s going on in the U.S. right now from outside (I’m in Israel), I’m struck by how these same hashtags are also used by people from outside the U.S. to support the Black Lives Matter movement and also connect it to localized instances of racism and anti-government protest.

In Israel, protests in solidarity with BLM were infused with the protest of Ethiopian-origin Israelis who suffer from racial discrimination and police brutality. This speaks to how TikTok enables young people to connect a personalized political message to a broader political moment.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Politics

Maryland GOP governor releasing book on his tenure, politics – battlefordsNOW

Published

on


Hogan, wrote that he will begin hosting a number of virtual events and conversations with some prominent Republicans later this month. They include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Govs. Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As NGA chairman, Hogan has led the group of governors amid tensions with the Trump administration in response to the pandemic. In March, for example, he criticized the administration for confusing messaging. Hogan said at the time that the president’s timeframe for a national reopening appeared to be running on a schedule made of some “imaginary clock,” as states struggled to manage hot spots of the outbreak.

Hogan also clashed with the White House in April when the governor announced a $9 million purchase of 500,000 virus test kits from South Korea. Hogan said the Trump administration had made it clear that states had to “take the lead” on testing and “do it ourselves.” Trump criticized Hogan at a White House press briefing, saying Hogan didn’t need to go to South Korea and “needed to get a little knowledge.”

In 2018, Hogan, who is term-limited, became only the second GOP governor in Maryland to be re-elected in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

Hogan’s book will include material about his challenging first year in office, which included riots in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man who suffered a spinal injury in a police van.

Later that year, Hogan was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June 2015 and underwent chemotherapy. Last month, the 64-year-old governor announced he had his final, five-year anniversary PET scan, which confirmed he was still 100% cancer free.

Brian Witte, The Associated Press

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

US Maryland GOP governor releasing book on his tenure

Published

on

Hogan, wrote that he will begin hosting a number of virtual events and conversations with some prominent Republicans later this month. They include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Govs. Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As NGA chairman, Hogan has led the group of governors amid tensions with the Trump administration in response to the pandemic. In March, for example, he criticized the administration for confusing messaging. Hogan said at the time that the president’s timeframe for a national reopening appeared to be running on a schedule made of some “imaginary clock,” as states struggled to manage hot spots of the outbreak.

Hogan also clashed with the White House in April when the governor announced a $9 million purchase of 500,000 virus test kits from South Korea. Hogan said the Trump administration had made it clear that states had to “take the lead” on testing and “do it ourselves.” Trump criticized Hogan at a White House press briefing, saying Hogan didn’t need to go to South Korea and “needed to get a little knowledge.”

In 2018, Hogan, who is term-limited, became only the second GOP governor in Maryland to be re-elected in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

Hogan’s book will include material about his challenging first year in office, which included riots in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man who suffered a spinal injury in a police van.

Later that year, Hogan was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June 2015 and underwent chemotherapy. Last month, the 64-year-old governor announced he had his final, five-year anniversary PET scan, which confirmed he was still 100% cancer free.

Brian Witte, The Associated Press

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Andrew Scheer spotted without a mask at Toronto's Pearson Airport – CBC.ca

Published

on



Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was seen at a departure gate at Toronto’s Pearson Airport today without a mask on — an apparent contravention of the rules that apply to all travellers passing through the terminal.

The airport’s website stipulates that “all passengers and airport employees” must wear a mask or a face covering “at all times.” The mandatory mask rule has been in place since June 1 to stop the spread of COVID-19 among the travelling public.

“This includes the pre- and post-security screening areas of the terminals, parking facilities, people mover train, sidewalks/curbs outside the terminals and other outdoor public areas,” the airport rules say.

There are exceptions for people under the age of two, travellers who are unable to remove a face covering without assistance and for people who have trouble breathing. Masks are not required for travellers dining at food and beverage locations.

A number of pictures surfaced on social media Tuesday of Scheer speaking to Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and others while waiting to board a flight. Pallister also appears to have his mask off while speaking to Scheer in the terminal.

Social media users posted pictures of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer at Toronto’s Pearson Airport Tuesday. (@canadiandollaz/Twitter)

A spokesperson for Scheer confirmed to CBC News that the pictures of Scheer were taken today.

“Mr. Scheer wore a face mask while travelling to Ottawa today. He removed it to make a phone call. This picture must have been taken before he put it back on,” said Kelsie Chiasson, acting director of communications for Scheer.

The pictures do not appear to show Scheer talking on the phone.

Premier Pallister told CBC News his maskless moment was a lapse in judgment.

“I lifted my mask to join some friends in conversation at the Toronto airport this afternoon,” he said in an email statement. “It was an error on my part, it won’t happen again.”

Social media users asked Pearson’s Twitter account if masks were still required after the Scheer pictures surfaced.

“They are! All travelers and employees inside the terminal must wear a mask or face covering,” the airport’s account said in response.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending