Londoners’ Twitter sarcasm quickly becomes a museum piece

Social media may in essence be ephemeral, but curators at the Museum of London appear determined to use people’s throwaway one-liners and lockdown tweets to provide a historical context for the coronavirus pandemic.

The Museum has pulled together 13 tweets from Londoners that were shared during the initial lockdown, in a strand of its ongoing project entitled Going Viral.

Research published last August 2020 by Twitter UK identified seven behaviours that emerged or accelerated during lockdown.

Historic: An example of some of the viral tweets from Londoners last year added to the collection

“Social media interaction has been an intrinsic shared experience for millions during the covid-19 crisis, which may have long-term effects on the way personal and professional communities connect for years to come,” the Museum of London said in announcing this latest collection.

The Museum describes the Going Viral project as “a rapid-response, digital collecting initiative, focused on collecting text, memes, videos and images” that went “viral” on Twitter. They defined as viral as content that was “shared” or “liked” more than 30,000 times.

“Humour and sarcasm have always been an inherent characteristic of Londoners, but especially employed as coping mechanisms throughout history in times of crisis and hardship,” said Foteini Aravani, the digital curator at the Museum of London.

Museum piece: ‘Humour and sarcasm have always been an inherent characteristic of Londoners’

“The covid-19 pandemic has been no different with imagination, creativity and wit uniting us while we’re physically separated by social distancing measures.”

Aravani called the viral tweets “a vital virtual form of camaraderie between Londoners in the lockdown”.

The Collecting COVID project, first announced in April 2020, seeks to reflect Londoners’ lives during the time of the covid-19 crisis to keep a record to ensure future generations of Londoners will be able to learn about and understand this extraordinary period.

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2 Responses to Londoners’ Twitter sarcasm quickly becomes a museum piece

  1. krautview says:

    Re suasage rolls to replace tampons – I hope Clare Barry told Amazon where to stick their frozen sausages – or perhaps better not

  2. Lewis White says:

    These snapshots and snippets are I suppose, important to record, but so many are just plain naff. The humour wan.

    Far better to enshrine the wisdom of the vitriol-filled e-pages of Inside Croydon, and inscribe them on gold ingots and put them in the British Library basement vaults. They are truly priceless. Future generations fortunate enough to uncover them after the eco-Apocalypse will be grateful.

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