Taylor Swift's Instagram post spurs spike in US voter registration
They never see it coming, what she does next -- this is how the world works, it's the Taylor Swift effect.
Katie CollinsSenior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
caused a spike in voter registration across the US on Monday, according to Vote.org, largely on the back of a single
One day after she concluded the US leg of her reputation stadium tour, Swift published a post on Instagram and Tumblr declaring her support for two Tennessee Democrat candidates in the upcoming midterm elections and encouraging people to register to vote and do their homework on candidates. Her post, published Sunday, garnered over 1.7 million likes on Instagram and over 33,000 likes and reblogs on Tumblr.
For Swift, these numbers aren't even that remarkable -- her Instagram posts, especially her selfies, often gain well over 2 million likes on the platform. But the post's impact went far beyond racking up numbers of virtual interactions, Kamari Guthrie, Vote.org's director of communications, told Buzzfeed. It also boosted the number of people registering to vote.
The organization saw 65,000 registrations in a 24-hour period following the post, versus 190,178 registrations in the whole month of September. The impact in Swift's home state of Tennessee was even more pronounced, with 2,144 registrations since she spoke out, compared to 2,811 throughout September.
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The spike could also be also be partly down to the fact that registration closes this week, but Guthrie thinks the singer's influence counts for a significant proportion of the registrations. "Thank God for Taylor Swift," said Guthrie.
Neither Vote.org nor Swift's team responded immediately to a request for further comment.
Until now, the singer has kept her political views private, which has been a bone of contention among her critics. But things have changed. At the end of 2017, Time Magazine named her a "silence breaker" following a sexual assault trial in which she was victorious. She has also been increasingly vocal about supporting her LGBT fans and made a heartfelt speech celebrating pride at her Chicago show in June.
"In the past I've been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now," Swift wrote in her Instagram post.
Still, the blowback was real. Swift was criticized for the views she expressed by Republicans and users of alt-right forums as well as by President Donald Trump, who claimed he now likes her music "25 percent less." But at the same time she was widely praised by celebrities and fans across social media for taking a stance on racism, equal pay, violence against women and LGBT issues.