Social Media & Politics: Starting a movement in a matter of seconds

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Twitter is really something. I don’t use it, but its power amazes and amuses me equally. I am especially amazed by the way it is capable of putting positivity and empowerment in the spotlight, amassing a movement of mobilized users in a matter of minutes.

The example of this we saw most recently was that of the debate on Wednesday night, during which time the infamous Donald Drumpf referred to his opponent Hillary Clinton as a “nasty woman.” Such a comment unsurprisingly had the potential to go viral as a hashtag, but the way a hashtag is framed and contextualized is entirely up to the users. It could have been a mass outrage– rightfully so at such an outrageous comment– but instead Twitter went a different way.

With the power of the hashtag, females and feminists across Twitter took back the term. Within minutes of the statement and with no predetermination of consensus, #NastyWoman went from an out of line pejorative term to a feminist movement trending across platforms and covered by all major
publications. Brands moved to get on the movement as quickly as possible. The above HuffPost article was posted at 11:43 PM.

Furthermore, we have already woken up today to the movement having been fully merchandised, including the hat pictured below, which is a parody of Trump’s campaign hat, as well as a “Nasty Woman” t shirt.

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With the election only a few weeks away, this movement is a time sensitive one. Once we have an elected president, the merchandise will become obsolete. This means that the brands and media outlets who were on top of the issues are now making revenue off a passionate movement they could not have predicted the existence of 24 hours ago.

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