Dozens of digital creators are being briefed on President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address ahead of his Thursday speech, the administration has confirmed to WIRED.

Around 70 creators, digital publishers, and influencers are set to meet with the administration to amplify the White House’s message across social media. Some were briefed on Wednesday, but more are expected to attend events on Thursday. The creators have a combined audience of more than 100 million followers across platforms. The administration is hoping to tap that large digital audience to reach voters who may not tune in to Thursday’s speech.

Topics like student debt relief and the president’s economic agenda were discussed with creators on Wednesday, Johnny Palmadessa, a creator and Democratic digital strategist in attendance, told WIRED. Other influencers, like Keith Edwards and @emilyinyourphone, were also included in Wednesday’s briefing.

“The event provided a valuable chance to meet the digital leaders who have been active on various platforms over the past four years,” Palmadessa said. “Meeting other activists, strategists, and influencers in person was inspiring.”

Vice President Kamala Harris is also expected to meet with creators and digital publishers Thursday afternoon in the first-ever influencer luncheon. The event is supposed to complement the president’s traditional State of the Union luncheon with television media, a White House spokesperson said.

Over the past few years, the White House has made a concerted effort to build relationships with popular influencers across platforms like Instagram and TikTok. In 2022, around 30 TikTok creators met with the administration over Zoom for a briefing on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then, they’ve played a key role in spreading the president’s message through nontraditional venues. The White House’s Office of Digital Strategy hosted more than 400 attendees at its influencer Christmas Party last December.

The Biden reelection campaign is also beefing up its digital operation. In January, the campaign joined TikTok for the first time, sidestepping criticism that the platform could be used by the Chinese government to spy on Americans. Before the launch of the account, the campaign maintained its presence on the app through its network of influencers. On Sunday, WIRED reported that the team brought on four new hires, including two digital persuasion operatives. This also marks the first time that the State of the Union address will officially be livestreamed on Instagram on the president’s @POTUS account.

“We’re in a new phase of the campaign where people are tuning in, and we want to make sure we’re reaching people in as many places as possible,” Rob Flaherty, deputy campaign manager for the Biden campaign, told WIRED last month.

Source link