Official Ukraine Twitter account
TikToks of cats in cardboard tanks. Flirty feedback on Instagram accounts devoted to Vladmir Putin, begging him to cease Russia’s assaults on Ukraine. Memes bemoaning what it’s prefer to dwell throughout a pandemic and warfare.
Memes, cats and TikToks are central options of latest web tradition. And typically, web tradition is all three on the similar time, utilizing generally understood templates at the side of cute and foolish themes and supplies that don’t mechanically appear to mesh with the catastrophic penalties of Russia’s assault on Ukraine.
As a scholar of social media platforms and web well-liked tradition, I do know that cute animal photos, together with cat photos, are a defining communication observe on-line. Whereas cats, memes and TikToks – and typically cat memes and cat TikToks – are methods to course of and reply to present occasions, they’re additionally rising, most lately within the Ukraine warfare, as a method to deal with poisonous, dangerous and tragic conditions.
A lot of the general public’s mind-set in regards to the web has been by way of dichotomies: There’s on-line, after which there’s offline. There are cute cat movies, after which there are misinformation and harassment. There’s TikTok, after which there’s world politics.
But when Russia’s assaults on the 2016 United States election taught something , it’s that web tradition is now world politics, not some separate and distinct realm. There are latest examples of this, such because the TikTok livestreaming of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, and TikTok customers’ organizing to purchase tickets for a rally for then-U.S. President Donald Trump, solely to not present up.
Famed media theorist Marshall McLuhan as soon as mentioned that the medium is the message, which means that the mode of communication carries which means in addition to the communication itself. And if that’s the case, then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reveals that memes and cute cat content material aren’t only for enjoyable and leisure any longer. Now, the cultural practices underscoring web tradition have develop into a body by way of which to course of disaster.
The memes of official Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to grasp easy methods to manipulate the cultural practices and ways of the web.
Putin’s Russia knew easy methods to use memes, Fb teams and different social media platforms to sow discord in 2016 and past. Within the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Russia’s Web Analysis Company planted polarizing memes and tweets on police brutality, Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ points on Fb, Twitter and Instagram.
However memes, TikToks and tweets aren’t simply used for polarizing ends. The official Ukraine Twitter account, run by the Ukrainian authorities, has used web tradition to speak about Russia’s aggression.
As tensions escalated between Russia and Ukraine within the latter half of 2021, the official Ukraine Twitter account started tweeting in regards to the aggression. This typically got here by way of utilizing memes, two of that are good examples:
In a single meme, Ukraine communicates the general message that dwelling subsequent to Russia is a continuing supply of stress and ache. The meme reveals in purple the precise location on the pinnacle of three kinds of widespread complications: migraines, hypertension and stress. However there’s a fourth headache depicted, referred to as “Dwelling subsequent to Russia.” Its location covers not only one spot on the pinnacle, however your complete head and neck.
The second meme has a canine sitting calmly subsequent to a life-size werewolf statue. On the prime, the meme says, “Putin’s actual fears.” Decrease within the image, the canine has the phrases “Ukraine in NATO” superimposed on prime of it. Subsequent to the canine, the vicious-looking werewolf has textual content over it saying, “Human rights, free press, honest elections.” The juxtaposition of the harmless-looking canine and threatening werewolf communicates that Putin is definitely afraid of freedoms for the Russian folks, as a result of such freedoms are a menace to his energy – whereas Ukraine becoming a member of NATO shouldn’t be, the meme suggests.
Massive-scale trauma processing
After Russia started its large-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, many on social media observed Ukraine’s tweets for the primary time and appeared baffled by why a nation’s official Twitter account would tweet such issues.
However once more, if memes, cats and TikToks are methods to course of disaster in actual time, then Ukraine’s Twitter account is a nationwide model of real-time trauma processing, utilizing codecs individuals are acquainted with.
The communal nature of memes, cats, TikToks and social media on the whole can’t be ignored. Memes are digital communication gadgets that develop and broaden the extra folks share and create them. Cats invite sharing a cute picture with one other individual. TikTok’s mission is to “encourage creativity and convey pleasure,” and platform options invite interplay with others. And social media are essentially social, based mostly virtually fully on communication with others.
With this in thoughts, Ukraine’s memes and tweets inform one thing else – that that is their nation’s invitation for extra folks to enter the dialog. I consider this tells of their want for the remainder of the world to face in communal solidarity with them.
If the medium is the message, then web cultural practices have develop into intertwined with geopolitical and navy conflicts. Meming warfare and battle isn’t all the time foolish – it may be an invite to speak, witness, communally course of and share.
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Jessica Maddox tidak bekerja, menjadi konsultan, memiliki saham, atau menerima dana dari perusahaan atau organisasi mana pun yang akan mengambil untung dari artikel ini, dan telah mengungkapkan bahwa ia tidak memiliki afiliasi selain yang telah disebut di atas.