10 Downing Street now on TikTok
On 10 May, many of those scrolling leisurely through videos of obnoxious horses named Chicken Nugget and ladies telling crime stories while decorating cookies were surprised by the dulcet tones and yellow mop of hair of Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, better known as the prime minister of the UK. Mostly as part of a stitch or a duet, unless they happened to find themselves on the more conservative side of the TikTok algorithm.
I will not include a link, because I do not want to pollute your For You Page or entice you to join TikTok when you actually value your attention span (and it’s easy to find in a search).
The TikToks start
Standing in front of a lovely painting of trees and dressed in his best dark-blue suit, this is what our PM had to say – with the “ums” edited out:
“Hi folks, this is Boris Johnson here launching the Number 10 Tiktok site, and you won’t necessarily catch me dancing on this site, but we will have all sorts of stuff about what we’re doing to deliver on our priorities, deliver for you on our agenda of uniting and levelling up our country. And you’ll get all sorts of messages and content that you might not get if you’re looking at Instagram or Snapchat or Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and all the other stuff. This is intended to be a place where we can put out messages and behind-the-scenes insights into what we’re getting done so tune in to Number 10 TikTok.”
This TikTok is followed by 2 more, one involving a boat – don’t ask, I didn’t watch it.
So what do the people on TikTok think about all this? Let’s have a look at the responses.
Reactions from other TikTokers
The top comment on No. 10’s first-ever TikTok is “resign”, followed by numerous TikTokers pointing out that Theresa May would have danced.
Some responses are furious, like that of Maddylucydann – an A&E doctor – who comments “ABSOLUTELY NOT GO AWAY THIS IS OUR SAFE SPACE.” References to the current cost of living crisis include “Boris lad, lower the Freddo prices cheers” by the appropriately named user uuuaagghhh and “Cheers boris nan’s doing cartweels to keep warm” by crackp1pe.
And then there are the numerous stitches and duets, some of which are decidedly unhinged, like the one by marcusterritory – an aspiring lawyer – who is using “Shakespeare for Dummies” to hide several rows of cocaine and yells “Oh thank God, it’s just Boris” while ripping off his mask, while others are silly, upset, or just want a wee word with the old man because it’s the only chance they’ll get.
A good social media decision?
So was this idea No. 10’s social media manager’s finest moment? Well, I think bewitchedandbewildered sums it up nicely: “???PR team ‘this will win over the youth vote for sure???.”
Should have stuck to Snapchat, Boris.