Today’s young adults and teenagers may be more socially aware than teens and young adults of the past, and it’s only fair to credit the one of the fastest forms of information: memes. A growing portion of these memes include TikToks. TikTok stars such as notaskinnylegend and UnsteadyMehdi build their content off politics and issues in the media, such as the impeachment of President Donald Trump or Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign for President.
In order to understand why teens and young adults are drawn to making TikToks about serious issues such as politics, notaskinnylegend and UnsteadyMehdi explained their reasons for being on TikTok and creating political content for the platform.
19-year-old TikTok star Jared, more commonly known as his TikTok handle, notaskinnylegend, says he joined TikTok after seeing compilations of the short videos on YouTube.
But he now uses TikTok to spread awareness of issues that are important to him, such as “the upcoming election or the borderline omnipresence of the elite class.”
Jared also felt the need to present these ideas and issues in a comedic way and he’s gotten a lot of attention for his content, with over 1.1 million views on a TikTok about how Senator Sanders is actually not too old to be President of the United States, as Senator Sanders is not a boomer. Jared included the fact that Senator Sanders is older than the baby boomers, but didn’t elaborate, leaving it as the punchline.
“I kind of expected this amount of attention,” Jared said. “I’ve been trying to put as much effort into my content as I can for a little over half a year.”
Another TikTok star, Mehdi, known on the platform as UnsteadyMehdi, also posts content about politics and popular social issues, jumped into the TikTok creating realm with the rise of the phrase “OK boomer.”
Mehdi, similar to Jared, uses the platform to “spread information and make other people laugh simultaneously.”
However, even though Jared and Mehdi use similar content and goals on TikTok, they both have very uniquely different styles of their videos.
Jared tends to create his videos outside of TikTok as his videos typically have editing far beyond the TikTok app. His videos don’t follow the popular trends of TikTok, but instead go down a route that is completely unique.
Mehdi, on the other hand, tends to make TikToks that more closely follow popular TikTok trends with a political twist. One of Mehdi’s TikToks begins with the caption of all of the female Presidential candidates of the 2020 Presidential election wondering who will be the first female president, then switches to “Nancy Pelosi after impeaching Trump AND Pence,” with the sound of the video saying, “It’s me! I win.”
So while both TikTok stars use similar content as the basis for their videos, but different creative choices for the videos, they both hope to have either inspired more young people to be politically aware or further inform young people already in the headspace.
Either way, TikTok has become a major platform for politics and social issues, with videos tagged as “#bernie2020” having 85.8 million views.