Last Updated on October 9, 2019
A fundraising email from Kamala Harris’s (D-California) presidential campaign asked supporters, “Y’all heard of TikTok?” in an apparent attempt to court the youth vote while asking for money.
In screen shots posted to Twitter, the bizarre email, ostensibly from someone named “Shelby” who is Harris’s “digital director,” describes what life is like as a “human of the internet” in the age of President Donald Trump.
“Hi ya’ll, Shelby here, Kamala’s digital director,” the email begins.
“I am a human of the internet. I spend a lot of time on Twitter reading the President’s chaotic tweets, and when I need a break, there’s this Instagram account of Scandinavian furniture that I go to look at to calm down.”
Finally, “Shelby” refers to TikTok, the new social network built on short, viral videos that is extremely popular with teenagers and Generation Z.
“Shelby” goes on, “My new favorite is this app called TikTok, I literally watch it every night.”
At this point readers may wonder if “Shelby” even exists, as very few teenagers would describe using the TikTok app as watching TikTok. Similar to YouTube, there are content creators and trending categories that users may view, but unlike YouTube, most TikTok videos are only seconds long.
Still, “Shelby” goes on.
“There’s an account on there run by an English farmer who records his chickens and ducks running out of the barn each morning. He calls it ‘early morning rush hour.’ It’s the best.”
National File researched said English farmer, and found that there is such a user on TikTok, and he has been extensively profiled by the likes of Complex, Mashable, The A.V. Club, and Buzzfeed, casting some doubt as to where “Shelby” learned of this avian phenomenon.
Then, dropping all pretense of being a totally woke 17-year-old, “Shelby” begs the recipient for money to push back against former vice president Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Kamala Harris email with subject line “Y’all heard of Tik Tok?” does not, in fact, direct supporters to a Harris campaign Tik Tok account, but turns into a Joe-Biden-is-a-threat fundraising pitch pic.twitter.com/CoTKCTSoBn
— Emily (Larsen) Brooks (@emilyelarsen) October 9, 2019
“TikTok aside, I wanted to read you in on some big digital news in the fight for 2020: Joe Biden’s campaign is dropping a whopping $6 million ad spend in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.”
Some readers may notice the immediate change in verbiage: The email goes from “y’all” to “read you in” with only a bold font separating the two.
The email goes on to explain that the ad spend will give Biden a massive advantage in early voting states, and adds that the Harris campaign is hoping to raise $150,000 – not using TikTok, by the way – and asks the reader for a donation.
This is far from the first time a Democrat presidential candidate referenced a pop culture item to gain relevancy among the youth. In 2016, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton famously referred to then-popular mobile game Pokemon Go and told voters she wished there were a “Pokemon Go to the Polls.”
Of course, this prompted President Trump’s own Pokemon Go-influenced video, “Crooked Hillary No!”
Regardless, readers hoping for a Harris campaign TikTok account were, undoubtedly, left disappointed.