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Sunday, April 14, 2024

What the president is doing on TikTok


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The president of the US is now on TikTok. Joe Biden’s marketing campaign launched an account throughout the Tremendous Bowl on Sunday, kicking issues off with a submit concerning the recreation captioned “lol hey guys.” I known as my colleague Charlie Warzel, who covers tech and web tradition, to debate what the president is doing on the video platform, and the way politicians face the identical pressures as another content material creator.

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Lora Kelley: Why is the president on TikTok, and why now?

Charlie Warzel: One apparent motive is you simply have to be the place individuals are. That’s what presidential candidates do. It looks like Biden is throwing stuff on the wall to see what sticks. The web is a lot weirder and extra fractured than it was in 2020. It’s so a lot more durable to not solely appeal to consideration, however to dictate and program media cycles.

On one stage, Biden is attempting to do fan service for individuals who actually benefit from the “Darkish Brandon” memes. He appears to be performing some gentle trolling of Trump. After which there appears to be a bit of little bit of behind-the-scenes content material for voters to get to know him.

However, broadly talking, it’s nonetheless unclear what his lane is and what a presidential candidate is doing on a social community like TikTok, which is a really inventive social community. TikTok is the place you showcase the talent you’ve got, or a form of absurdist humor. The platform virtually appears antithetical to campaigning.

Lora: The entire “Darkish Brandon” dimension is so fascinating to me. Is the president a particularly on-line content material creator now?

Charlie: Everyone knows that Joe Biden shouldn’t be an edgelord, that he’s not terminally on-line or steeped in meme tradition. It’s inherently inauthentic when he posts about memes.

However on the identical time, the entire “Darkish Brandon” factor is a vital wink and nod, as a result of it exhibits that the marketing campaign is hyper-online. It exhibits that, irrespective of how indifferent from the web Biden himself is, the marketing campaign is conscious.

I might be actually to know if Biden understands the layers of the memes. Or if he’s similar to: You loopy youngsters, do what you wish to do. Make me look good.

Lora: As you mentioned, Biden shouldn’t be a really on-line man, and should not appear all that nicely matched to the platform. What potential downsides do you see to him being on TikTok?

Charlie: There are numerous downsides. The primary one is simply the character of this election: Lots of people are already fairly firmly of their camps. Most who’re going to see these posts on TikTok are going to be individuals who both love him or hate him.

If the objective of getting the TikTok account is so {that a} bunch of 21-year-olds who don’t pay any consideration to politics begin interacting with Biden stuff, it’s most likely not going to have the impact that they need. The algorithm shouldn’t be going to point out political content material from the president to individuals who aren’t .

Then there’s the entire authenticity bit. His captions are in lowercase, issues like “lol hey guys.” That’s not how the president talks, proper? It feels a bit of pandering, and it would rub individuals the mistaken method or simply make them assume: No, you’re not cool.

Lora: May the TikTok account turn into extra helpful to Biden because the marketing campaign progresses?

Charlie: After I spoke with Keith Edwards, a political strategist, he defined that you have to have your whole accounts able to capitalize on an enormous second. One thing would possibly occur out on the marketing campaign path, some heartwarming unscripted second with a voter, or an informal comment to a Fox Information reporter the place Biden “claps again.” In the event you don’t have a TikTok account, you possibly can’t blast these moments out and probably go viral.

Lora: I got here throughout the account final weekend throughout the Tremendous Bowl, earlier than it had numerous followers or views. For somebody as well-known because the president to be worrying about whether or not content material will go viral looks like a surprisingly weak place to be in.

Charlie: When Edwards was explaining this to me, I spotted: He’s simply describing what it means to be a creator on the web. All creators are workshopping content material, hoping that one thing’s going to resonate with individuals.

Essentially, Joe Biden is simply one other a kind of creators. Even he must at all times be posting and hopefully hitting the viral wave. I feel that’s actually telling about the place the web goes. Until you’re Taylor Swift or MrBeast or possibly Elon Musk, there’s not lots of people who can appeal to that form of consideration by posting one thing random. The president’s similar to us.

Associated:


On Navalny’s Loss of life

Tom right here, with a observe concerning the obvious loss of life of Alexei Navalny in a Russian jail camp at age 47. Navalny’s loss of life is a kind of occasions that appeared inevitable however nonetheless comes as a shock. Russian President Vladimir Putin at all times feared Navalny and tried to kill him by having him poisoned in 2020. When he was handed a 19-year stretch in jail, it was a de facto loss of life sentence, however he continued to battle.

As my colleague Anne Applebaum wrote right this moment: “Even behind bars Navalny was an actual risk to Putin, as a result of he was dwelling proof that braveness is feasible, that fact exists, that Russia could possibly be a special form of nation.” I hoped that one way or the other he may outlast the regime, however a Russian penal colony is a harsh life even for a wholesome man, and Putin bought the final phrase, at the very least for now.

It is a darkish day, however on Friday night in Russia, individuals had been lining as much as lay flowers at memorials, together with one proper in entrance of the secret-police headquarters in Moscow. The dictator within the Kremlin thinks he can outlast the democracies. Free individuals world wide should maintain proving him mistaken.


At this time’s Information

  1. In a New York civil fraud trial, a decide ordered Donald Trump to pay greater than $350 million and imposed a three-year ban stopping him from operating any enterprise within the state, together with his personal firm.
  2. President Joe Biden blamed “Putin and his thugs” for the reported loss of life of the Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny.
  3. Two juveniles are being held on gun-related expenses and for resisting arrest in reference to a latest taking pictures on the Chiefs’ Tremendous Bowl rally in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri, that left one particular person lifeless and greater than 20 others injured.

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Night Learn

A white raven sitting on a snow-covered roof next to an American flag in Anchorage, Alaska
{Photograph} by Ash Adams for The Atlantic

Anchorage Fell in Love With a White Raven

By Ash Adams

All through the autumn, a uncommon white raven breakfasted at a McDonald’s and lunched at a Wendy’s in Anchorage, Alaska. Images confirmed word-of-mouth stories; a Fb group that now has greater than 20,000 followers is usually up to date with the raven’s whereabouts. On a grey weekend day in November, the hen confirmed up on a dumpster close to the Wendy’s, then on varied lampposts, roofs, and snow mounds. Every time it moved, a small group of individuals adopted.

Learn the complete article.

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Jupiter Wong / Prime Video

Watch. The most recent episode of Expats (out now on Prime Video) connects the privileged protagonists with a society they inhabit at a distance, Shirley Li writes.

Sing alongside. Jennifer Lopez’s new musical movie, This Is Me … Now: A Love Story (out now on Prime Video) is meant to be her opus however falls brief, Spencer Kornhaber writes.

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Stephanie Bai contributed to this article.

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