Outdated Salem goes viral on TikTok
WINSTON-SALEM, NC – When you think of Old Salem, the only tick-tocks you would expect would likely come from one of their antique clocks. But now Old Salem is gaining popularity with one of the newer social platforms. Tick tock.
“In 2017, Old Salem embarked on a new plan to completely change the way they think and act on their social media,” said Samantha Smith, director of community engagement and digital learning at Old Salem.
In October, Smith posted a picture of old Salem Joyner Ben Masterson. It was easy, with no narrative, to show Masterson working wood in the 18th century.
“It was uploaded, and then I actually had a dentist appointment. I didn’t look at my phone for about two hours and went back to my phone and was amazed,” says Smith.
The video was immediately viewed thousands of times. Today it has been viewed more than 60,000 times. Another Masterson video has been viewed 1.5 million times.
The old President of Salem is re-introducing the historic site due to COVID
“It was a very, very strange experience, especially to see all these mostly young people commenting and asking these fantastic questions,” What was he doing? “And” what wood did he use? “Explains Smith.
The TikTok world met Joel Cook in a TikTok where he transitioned from modern clothing to 18th century clothing.
“And then the answers we get from people. Like I have some, I have a fan club, basically on TikTok, ”Cook said with a laugh. “I definitely didn’t expect that.”
Old Salem even has a “Beef” museum with the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. Not Dudley, North Carolina. Dudley, England.
“We saw an opportunity where Old Salem can really benefit from not only reaching that audience but also exploring Old Salem’s stories through this type of video creation platform,” says Smith.
Today Old Salem has 1.2 million likes on TikTok.
“We had people approaching us, usually the beginnings of TikTok, to say, ‘Hey, I’m sorry that’s a bit of a hassle, but are you Ben? The Joyner? We saw you on TikTok so we got out of here, we drove all the way from this and that, ”adds Smith.
For Cook, it’s a way of reaching people around the world. Again, show young people interested in history that there is a way to turn that curiosity into a career.
“That’s what every historian who does this does,” he says. “To encourage other people to get involved and learn about history.”
Old Salem’s historic buildings are currently closed, but the site is still open. Social media attracts a whole new group of visitors.