The Huffington Post: People Don’t Want Politics, They Want ‘Covfefe’

Journalism and Digital Media 9 June 2017

Dr Anastasia Denisova, Lecturer in Journalism at the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) at the University of Westminster, has published a blog for the Huffington Post regarding President Trump’s mysterious tweet including the word ‘covfefe’ and the reactions it received across the world.

In her blog post Dr Denisova explained why US President Trump’s recent tweet including the word ‘Covfefe’ became so viral and widely shared.

The blog post first mentioned how just one misspelled word in a tweet shared by the US President could make politics easier and more accessible than many thought. “It is truly hard to make sense of Trump’s international politics, describe his vision of market regulation inside the country, or decode the patterns or establishing healthy working relations with foreign leaders. Therefore, an innocent typo in the quasi-official account of the American president gives a quick glimpse of his approach in political management.”

Dr Denisova also stressed that hashtags and internet memes can play a significant role as media. “Memes and hashtags are a phenomenon of our times. Seemingly stupid or absurd, they nonetheless disclose more than meets the eye. In my research on Internet memes I have been stressing their role as fast-food media and political mindbombs. As fast-food media, memes give you a quick snapshot of the agenda.”

Hashtags and memes can also be means to unite people and make them feel as part of a community. The viral hashtag ‘#covfefe’, in particular, aroused millions of people’s curiosity from different backgrounds. Dr Denisova wrote: “From The Guardian’s outspoken political journalist Owen Jones to the US Scrubs actor and talented scriptwriter Zach Braff, the digital world went mad about covfefe. Braff alone generated a couple of pages of tweets, gifs, memes that ridiculed covfefe. You and me can tweet about covfefe, too - and get our portion of joy and attention. It feels good to suddenly be in the loop with celebrities, opinion leaders and journalists - as if you are joining a conversation in a highly-coveted club.”

Finally, Dr Denisova explained that internet memes and hashtags can also have a real influence on political agendas. They resonate with people’s thoughts and reflect issues, frustrations or passions of our society. “When we talk about memes as political mindbombs, we refer to them as the symbolic messages that have influence on the political agenda. They are incomplete, even shallow per se - but, when matched with the context, they gain this incredible resonating power. Memes - the funny Internet jokes that are suddenly shared by thousands - are indicators of public opinion. When something becomes a meme, it means the public finds a message relevant in it to their views and opinions.”

In Trump’s recent hashtag case, the public shared ‘covfefe’ to express their confusion, rage and amusement towards the US leader.  

Read the full blog post on the Huffington Post website.

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