Please introduce yourself.
“My name is Conor Stayton. I’m 17-years-old. I’m particularly interested in environmental issues and environmental justice. I plan to major in environmental policy. Aside from my political interests, I enjoy running, weightlifting and fishing. My dream is to write environmental legislation of my own. Until then, I hope to do research on the Great Barrier Reef during my time in college. I also plan to continue advocating for environmentally conscious political candidates and educating my audience about environmental issues.”
What type of videos do you post on TikTok?
“I post a variety of content on TikTok. The majority of my content is satirical with political undertones. I also post news updates, explain concepts and respond to other political videos with additions or refutations. I also post my raw opinions on current news or political topics.”
Describe your work with Tiktok For Biden and what you have achieved. What are your biggest achievements with respect to your social media?
“I helped produce three videos for Tiktok for Biden; I wasn’t super involved with TTFB beyond these videos. It’s difficult to pinpoint specific achievements on my social media: this is because I often aim to change people’s minds, making it difficult to measure the effectiveness of doing that. I accumulated over 50 million views on my political videos leading up to the election. I was set on improving Joe Biden’s image, clearing up rumors and convincing undecided voters to vote blue. It’s difficult to measure the exact extent of my impact on voters. That being said, I’ve also participated in more specific events, such as a Yemen charity stream to help raise more than $4,000. I’ve also helped promote multiple phone banking events for Sara Gideon and Jon Ossoff, and helped boost several other fundraisers and petitions.”
Did you have any political experience, like phone banking, canvassing, etc. before Tiktok? If not, what exactly lead to your interest in politics?
“Before TikTok, my advocacy was strictly environmental related. I had a Facebook thread where I would post articles relating to climate crises and their solutions. I also gave a public talk to a full house at my public community center during my junior year in high school; I talked about ways to live a more sustainable life. My interest in politics stemmed from my education surrounding the environment, more specifically, my interest in fishing. It was during my many hours of fishing I became attached to the health of our ecosystems. I knew that my future depended on a healthy planet, and that was all the motivation I needed to dive into activism.”
What live streams have you participated in, and which ones were most memorable/important to you?
“I often participate in live streams with other political TikTokers. Sometimes, we host friendly debates or talk about the current news. We also just engage with our followers during these streams. The political TikTok community is very tight-knit. We share beliefs and tend to relate to each other a lot. Oftentimes, our streams stray from politics and just provide a safe entertaining space for our followers.”
Where on the political spectrum do you fit? Have you become more or less radicalized due to your social media presence?
“I would consider myself a Socdem. I am constantly given theory and lecture recommendations. The result of this is that my beliefs are very scattered on the left side of the spectrum. I have so much to learn and so much to decide upon. It’s difficult to see exactly how radical I’ll become. Nevertheless, social media has radicalized me. Not only am I around intelligent, articulate people that constantly guide me, I’m exposed to the absolute worst of my opposition. This combination is a recipe for radicalization. I continue to move slowly, and take my time with my political progression.”