“When it comes to voting, youth care most about what their peers think,” says Literat, Assistant Professor of Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design, commenting on Tok the Vote, a voter mobilization campaign launched by a 25-year-old former Amazon product manager that aims to make youth voting go sufficiently viral to make a major difference in the 2020 election. “In order to reach young voters, we need to talk to them in their preferred language, on their turf. Their turf right now, including when it comes to politics and voting, is TikTok.”
The Wired story spotlights the efforts of youth-led groups like TikTok for Biden, which was founded by a 16-year-old who took a leave of absence from school and which now includes about 360 creators, and TikTok’s Republican Hype House, which was created by a 17-year-old with a knack for turning the president’s soundbites into memes. The two groups alone have more than 160 million followers, which exceeds American voter turnout in the 2016 election.
[Read another story, in Mic, in which Literat discusses the power of TikTok for bringing out the youth vote.]
Literat suggests that creative wizardry, like a clip of Trump dancing at a Florida rally that has been overlaid with a mashup of Coldplay and Savage, is part of why these sites are so successful.
I am blown away by the creativity of TikTok users who are using songs, memes, dances, and skits to talk about voting. I know this sounds a bit hyperbolic or cheesy, but this is the future of civic education.
—Ioana Literat, Assistant Professor of Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design
“Creativity is an underused yet crucial channel for civic education, and TikTok is the best example in this sense,” she says. “Personally, I am blown away by the creativity of TikTok users who are using songs, memes, dances, and skits to talk about voting. I know this sounds a bit hyperbolic or cheesy, but this is the future of civic education.”
Learning Media Literacy and Fighting Fake News with LAMBOOZLED!
LAMBOOZLED! is an award-winning media literacy card game that teaches students ages 11 and up to spot fake news and disinformation in a fun, engaging way. In this video, creators Ioana Literat and Yoo Kyung Chang to discuss the research behind LAMBOOZLED!, the game design process, how to play, educator resources and more.
Literat has extensively studied youth online media engagement. She has spearheaded development of LAMBOOZLED!, a card game for use in teaching media literacy to youth, which is published by Teachers College Press. This past spring, she received the Early Career Award from AERA's Media, Culture & Learning Special Interest Group (SIG).