North Carolina Representative Jackson is using social media the right way


Greta Gustafson - TikTok screenshot

A screen shot of Representative Jeff Jackson, who represents North Carolina’s 14th district, TikTok profile. Jackson has garnered 2 million followers on TikTok where he uploads videos explaining what is happening in Congress.

Greta Gustafson

The average age of a representative in the current House of Representatives is 58 years old, despite the rise in youth voter turnout and the growing impact laws have on younger generations. Due to the higher mean age, many of the representatives are not in tune with modern ways of communication and advertising — specifically social media. However, Rep. Jeff Jackson from North Carolina’s 14th district has found an effective way to communicate through the internet’s fastest-growing app, TikTok. 

Despite only 760,000 people living in the district Jackson represents, which includes part of Charlotte, NC., he has garnered national attention and two million followers on TikTok, a remarkable number for a first-term congressman. 

The reason behind Jackson’s growth isn’t as complicated as it may seem. In fact, he is using a strategy that Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) used during his presidency: FDR’s fireside chats. Roosevelt would go on live TV fairly frequently and address American citizens’ fears and concerns during his tumultuous presidency, sharing what the government was doing to solve these issues. Similar to this, Jackson frequently uploads videos explaining what is going on in Congress in an easily understandable way. 

Jackson’s most viewed video, which currently has 29.3 million views and 4.6 million likes, was posted at 2:00 a.m. on March 13th, when Silicon Valley Bank collapsed. In the video, he explained exactly what a bank run was, what threat it posed to the economy as a whole, what citizens can do to ensure their funds are safe and what the government is doing to address the issue. 

According to a 2016 experiment, done by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 57% of Americans received a low financial literacy score. By using TikTok as a way to communicate factual and important information about the economy and government, Jackson is informing, specifically the younger audiences on TikTok, about subjects they might not understand. 

Not only is this method an effective way of informing the public, but Jackson has also built a national fan base, unlike many other first-term members. Despite the easy access to the internet, many members of Congress don’t understand how apps like TikTok work, as shown by the TikTok CEO’s congressional hearings where members asked seemingly unrelated questions and did not appear to have any sort of grasp on how the app worked. 

Those aged 10-29 currently make up 62% of TikTok users in the U.S. By the time those 10-year-olds are able to vote in elections, they will have watched years of Rep. Jackson using TikTok as a resource to connect with the American people which could help him build momentum for a national election. Currently, using TikTok as a way to communicate to eligible voters and provide them with factual information about what happens in Congress is a great way to target younger voters who are already eligible (ages 18-25) and connect with them through social media. 

Aside from the bank run video, Jackson has given viewers a look into what being a member of Congress is like, with videos explaining how committee assignments work, his campaign journey and what members of Congress do when it comes to insider trading and international affairs. He also has videos explaining the TikTok Congressional hearings, the mifepristone lawsuits and what default in the economy means in addition to what Congress can do to avoid it. Jackson has garnered over 17.2 million likes across all his videos. 

By reaching out to the public on an app with over 150 million users in the United States, Jackson has not only built a platform for himself where he has nationwide recognition, but he has employed the use of FDR’s “fireside chats” to directly communicate with citizens and be transparent about how the government works. It wouldn’t be surprising if his name was on a presidential ballot in 2028 or 2032.