The American summer and the Australian winter have been marked by a surging movement of activism calling for social change but with the coronavirus pandemic affecting how people interact with one another, many of these calls to action took place online. Not only have we seen the traditional movements but new forms of activism and how new platforms like TikTok are enabling online protests.
In June, Janie Jordan, who is our guest speaker for the upcoming Corporate Affairs Dialogue session took a look at this trend when Trump’s rally was derailed by a grandmother and K-Pop stans – yes stans – in her weekly blog.
The pandemic case study looks at how the new media and popular culture clash and what that might mean for leadership communication as (1) we navigate our way through the next phases of this crisis, and (2) scenario planning.
First, a little background.
As with everything that President Trump does, it seems to court controversy. That came in the form of a date and a venue.
Date – June 19. That day, known as Juneteenth, celebrates the end of slavery in the US.
Venue – Tulsa, the city that saw some of the worst massacres of black people in US history witnessed in 1921.
After criticism, he moved the rally back ONE day – to June 20.
Meantime, the social forces were rallying. Soon the Trump rally registrations were flooded – mostly fake thanks to a grandmother in Iowa, whose video plea ultimately landed into the activist hands of the K-Pop stans (for the uninitiated, and I was one!, they are fans of Korean popular music.)
Mary Jo Laupp, a 51-year-old grandmother living in Fort Dodge, Iowa, appears to have helped led the charge on TikTok late last week when she posted a video encouraging people to go to Trump’s website, register to attend the event — and then not show up.
Fake! Playing Trump at his own game. Clever.
Laupp, who worked on the (now failed) Pete Buttigieg’s Democratic Presidential campaign in Iowa, told her then 1,000 or so followers on TikTok, normally thought of a platform for dancing teenagers and not, necessarily, political action. Her idea prompted multiple other TikTok users to post similar videos calling on their followers to do the same — visit the website, register for the event, fail to show up.