#ThisIsACoup and Greece’s Bailout: Geo-mapping the emergence of a hashtag across Europe’s twittersphere




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Peer reviewed



Social media allow disparate groups to spontaneously coordinate in support of a common cause. At the height of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis in 2015, as Greece was negotiating its third bailout and was about to be saddled with new austerity measures, the hashtag #ThisIsACoup emerged and quickly went viral on Twitter. How did it emerge, diffuse across Europe’s twittersphere, and with what impact on wider public discourse? This chapter uses data collected through Twitter’s streaming API and a qualitative content analysis to examine these questions. #ThisIsACoup first emerged in Spain. Within hours, people across Europe had coalesced around the hashtag, which succinctly expressed the shared sentiment that Greece was being treated unfairly. Moreover, the impact of #ThisIsACoup on public discourse reached well beyond social media, with over 700 newspaper stories worldwide mentioning the hashtag. But people did more than adopt a common hashtag. They engaged with other Twitter users across national boundaries, calling into being a transnational, pan-European communication space. Social media provided a potent means of connecting people from across Europe to voice their collective objection to controversial austerity policies. Through the hashtag, Twitter acted as a “stitching technology”, activating disparate, far-flung groups around a shared grievance.



social media research, political communication, Twitter


Hänska, M, and Bauchowitz, S (2018) "#ThisIsACoup and Greece’s Bailout: Geo-mapping the emergence of a hashtag across Europe’s twittersphere" Laura Basu, Steve Schifferes and Sophie Knowles (eds.) The Media and Austerity: Comparative Perspectives, London: Routledge, pp. 248-261


Research Institute

Media Discourse Centre (MDC)