The TikTok trends that lit up the online SU election campaigning of 2021

In a year of online campaigning, TikTok was a fun and easy way for students to learn about the candidates’ manifesto pledges. Annie, who successfully ran for SU President, along with Community Officer candidates Meg and Heleen, all had TikTok accounts that featured video trends to engage students with their campaigns. 

Hannah, a second year student, said that ‘’Annie and Meg both followed me on TikTok and I realised that they had used #uniofbath on the app to find other students’’. This clever tactic helped the candidates reach their target audience within a matter of minutes. While online campaigning hasn’t been ideal for the candidates, their dedication, paired with their brilliant use of TikTok trends, has made this year’s election as exciting as ever.  

Annie Willingham jumped on a funny TikTok trend about having an obsession in order to showcase her plants, while also reminding students about the ‘Plant Your Vote’ initiative (a tree is due to be planted for every 10 votes in the SU elections). Annie also debuted her own style of videos, including writing a song to the Phinneas and Ferb theme tune about why students should vote for her. She even took on the hit musical ‘The Greatest Showman’ by doing a choreographed dance with a member of her campaign team. 

Meanwhile, Meg Crossman showed her community spirit with a stream of Tik Tok videos where she was picking up her policies in a park using a litter-picker! Having taken up litter picking during the pandemic, Meg thought it would be a unique way to share her policies with students. She also got help from a friend on Tik Tok who sang and played a ukulele version of Jason Mraz’s ‘I’m Yours’ with lyrics that supported Meg’s campaign for Community Officer.  

However, it has to be said that the candidate who used more Tik Tok trends than any other was Heleen Maes, who posted 13 TikToks over the course of elections week. From using the new electric scooters in Bath to a video that featured ‘Disturbia’ by Rihanna, Heleen was well versed in what the world of TikTok was currently liking and following. Highlights include her ‘stop spreading those rumours around’ video, where she dispelled common student worries about things like financial support and their social life at university, along with another video where she used a robot-like voiceover to pledge support for students who face harassment and discrimination. 

Interestingly, a TikTok trend that wasn’t utilised by candidates was the green screen function on the app, as candidates could have potentially used this common video style to showcase their manifesto pledges. Nevertheless, the variety and quality of TikTok content made the SU elections a little bit more interactive during COVID-19 and hopefully we will see more TikTok videos in future elections! 

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