culture What TikTok And Bud Light Can Tell Us About Online Activism The "stitch" feature is changing how people react to boycotts. What TikTok And Bud Light Can Tell Us About Online Activism Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for GLAAD
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Whether you’ve ever cracked open a can of Bud Light or not, you’re probably aware of the controversy surrounding the brand. After featuring transgender TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney in a social media ad, many people vowed to boycott the beer.

As for whether it will have a long-term impact remains to be seen, but the TikTok response exposes the good, bad, and ugly sides of online debate.

Stitching it together

If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you might have seen a video of a guy driving over a Bud Light can in his Chevy pickup truck. Chances are, however, you saw a reaction video (or “stitch”) instead of the original post.

This approach has generally been used to allow critics of the boycott to offer a counterpoint, and many people see it as a more effective way to engage in debate than other social media alternatives.

On Twitter and other platforms, you could find posts from the likes of Kid Rock and others who similarly destroyed Bud Light products … but the debate was often buried within the comments. Stitches allow people to see the original argument being made even as a critic expresses a contrary point of view.

Is it good for society?

Some would argue that respectful and honest debate is always helpful, but in the social media age, it’s sometimes difficult to meet those criteria. Outraged people across the ideological spectrum can easily find something to lash out against and it’s never difficult to find an echo chamber filled with people who share the same point of view.

As such, points and counterpoints frequently spin out of control until we all lose sight of what the true debate is about. And the TikTok stitch seems to be the latest example of how that plays out online.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee April 22nd, 2023
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