“Could this really be Ukraine’s official Twitter account? there were probably more people thinking after Ukraine released a so-called December 7 same, where they joked about what it was like to be neighbors with Russia. The tweet spread quickly and over half a million users liked the tweet.
– Everyone knows that the border with Russia, especially at a time when they are constantly trying to invade parts of our country, is a real headache, and “a pain in the…”.
Yarema Dukh calls himself the father of @Ukraine. He was kforeign media coordinator and special assistant to the press secretary of the late President Petro Poroshenko.
– If we didn’t know if something was too controversial to publish, we asked for approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Today, he no longer works there, but helped run the account until 2018.
Dukh came up with the idea of creating a separate Twitter account for Ukraine. He had seen that the Canadian ambassador had retweeted a tweet from Canada’s official Twitter account.
– I was very surprised, because I hadn’t heard that countries could have their own Twitter account.
The account was created to disseminate information about Ukraine in English, including the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
A modern tool
Yarema Dukh soon realized that this could be a good opportunity for them to reach out to foreign media.
Today, the account has over 200,000 followers. Major international media such as the BBC, CNN and the Wall Street Journal wrote on the Twitter account.
It’s not accidental, it’s a deliberate strategy.
– Because the news stories didn’t just have the tweet, they also had the context for it to be tweeted, that we were in conflict with Russia, Dukh said.
By all accounts, the team’s strategy behind the account worked.
– There is nothing shameful in using memes as a means of communication for a state. It is essential if you want to operate with an effective and modern communication strategy.
Also in Norway we have serious gamers using humor and memes on social media. The second largest party in the country is by far the largest party on Instagram. Høgre has over 40,000 subscribers.
– We have seen a marked increase in the number of followers, we reach more people than when we had an Instagram account which was used to share a few photos when we were on a stand for example, says the head of digital media at Høgre, Cecilie Victoria Jensen .
Their goal is simple. They will make people interested in Høgre and his politics, and maybe even attract new voters. They also appeal to an important target group, namely 18-34 year olds, who make up the largest part of the followers.
-Vin summary, there was potential in Instagram that we did not fully exploit.
Easy to understand
Researcher at the Mona Abdel-Fadil Holocaust Center. who, among other things, has researched social media, humor and satire, believes that memes can be an effective and easy-to-understand way to convey criticism.
-Msome people who don’t necessarily know much about Ukraine or Russia or the conflict between them can still see memes and laugh about it.
Studies have shown that memes can engage across political viewpoints, and that they can engage young people in particular in a completely different way.
Abdel-Fadil, I think this type of communication strategy is very interesting, and I think we will see more of it in the future.
– When you see Twitter messages from, for example, Ukraine, you may wonder if it is a parody or if someone broke into the account. There are already a lot of questions buzzing about content.
And now you read an article about it, and a journalist chose to write about it, so Dukh’s strategy failed again.
NRK attempted to contact the Russian Embassy for comment.
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