This third year Journalism student wrote her dissertation on #Milifandom
Yes, those crazy teenage girls who photoshopped abs onto Ed Miliband
When we imagine writing our dissertation, we tend to see ourselves sitting in the library at 2am surrounded by musty books with obscure titles. Of course, we’re not reading the books, no, we are procrastinating by watching YouTube videos on our phones, or scrolling through Twitter. But what if being on YouTube and Twitter was actually a key part of your research?
This was the case for third year Hannah Grafton, studying Journalism at the University of Westminster. She has written her dissertation on the most famous (if slightly weird) fandom in English Politics: #Milifandom.
Titled: “How did social media react to Ed Miliband during the 2015 General Election? A content analysis of YouTube comments and the ‘Milifandom’ Twitter community”, Hannah’s goal was to try to “understand Milifandom better”, and to determine its impact on the election. Her conclusion? Not much.
When asked what made her chose such a unique topic Hannah told The Tab London: “To be honest, I never really had a moment where I decided that I wanted to focus on Ed Miliband. I knew I wanted to write my dissertation on fandom and while I was doing some early research, I thought how funny it would be if I wrote it about Milifandom.”
The phenomenon of Milifandom was actually more complex and interesting than Hannah had first thought. She said: “I found that the Milifandom was a lot more about young people campaigning for votes for 16 and 17-year-olds, and less about just photoshopping flower crowns on Ed.”
Hannah has assured us that she has absolutely no regrets about her dissertation: “I’m actually pretty happy with what I did… it’s definitely better than doing something boring that no one would understand or find funny.
“A topic this ridiculous makes people interested to know more, so everybody I spoke to at uni thought it would make a good dissertation. I might have gotten a few hard eye rolls after telling people, but I think that comes from people’s opinions of Ed himself.”
The only thing she regrets is that she couldn’t talk to Ed Miliband about his worshipful fans. “I really want to know his honest opinions on the whole thing now that he’s not campaigning for PM anymore. If you’re reading this Ed, hit me up”, she said.
We also asked Hannah if she thinks we’re going to see any massive fandoms in this year’s General Election. Hannah replied: “I don’t think there will be. Obviously, there’s Jeremy Corbyn but he’s nothing on Miliband really is he?
“I saw an interview where he didn’t even know who Ant and Dec were. And can you imagine any fans worshipping Theresa May?”