As many of you may already know, the Queen of England died only last week, after a solid 70+ years of reigning. Now, I’m not going to get political (she says- ready to cause a scene at every family dinner), but I’d advise you to only keep reading if you consider yourself emotionally detached from that whole situation.
Are we good? Okay, now I can say it – if you were on twitter that day, it was hilarious. The number of memes that have spawned out since are truly on another level, some of them tastefully nodding at lady Diana and others comparing the queen to a deceased head of state from the famous anime Naruto. Truly, if you are willing to laugh at the situation and make fun of the institution that is the British Royal Family, it’s been a field day ever since.
That is, if you are on my side of twitter. Because due to the accounts I follow and the content I interact with, I have created myself a small nook in the corner of internet that best fits me. Now, I definitely didn’t do this on purpose – quite the opposite, actually. One influencer here, one meme account there, my friends somewhere in the middle, put a sprinkle of my favorite university lecturers and maybe repeat a couple times – my following list is chaotic and unregulated to say the least (I like to say that I follow based on vibes). Nonetheless, this list is mostly made up of accounts who share similar values and/or views to me. Semi-leftist, semi-liberal and mostly progressive content. That is to say, I try and steer clear of neo-Nazis on twitter (yes, they’re there). I don’t know about you guys, but it’s not really the content for me.
Consequentially, if the accounts I follow were to offer any views and opinions on certain issues, I might agree or be neutral to them more easily than strongly disagree. It’s not as obvious on normal days, but whenever there’s a major political election, I notice it very easily. Especially right now, with the Italian general elections behind the corner, the number of tweets against the right-wing political parties of the country are way more frequent on my homepage.
This bubble I created must have also influenced the content regarding Queen Elizabeth’s death I was exposed to. Coming from a family of convinced anti-monarchists, it’s only fitting that the memes and more, er, lighthearted reactions to the events were way more frequent than the sympathetic messages of politicians and similar figures. Now, this really is not an issue when the matter at hand is just the death of a political figure – whatever, right? It was just funny memes that made me exhale loudly through my nose for a couple of times.
Well, yes and no.
Yes, it was indeed just the death of a political figure and funny memes. I opened the app, found out about the news, scrolled a bit, got a good couple of chuckles and called it a day. But by doing so, my beliefs and ideas were only reinforced. By only finding memes that went hand in hand with my beliefs on the topics of monarchy and the British royal family, there was no challenge. Only an echo of agreeing and having the same opinion and laughing at a person’s death. Which, to be fair, is a bit gruesome at the end of the day. Any different opinions, even in the comments, were not as loud or easy to come by. Yes, people were arguing and disagreeing as they always do on the internet, but there’s no news there.
No, there were no messages celebrating the Queen’s reign, nor were there any sympathetic condolences to her family, nobody on my homepage tried to make me understand why the British public actually loved her so much. Just the same thoughts and ideas, over and over, repeated and reinforcing each other.
Allow me to be frank, in the moment I didn’t even notice. It took a comedy podcast I was listening to last week to make me realize that the majority of reactions I saw online to the queen’s death was very different than what other people might have seen. I am absolutely no guru in this department, clearly.
It’s hard to realize by yourself that you find yourself in an echo chamber when interacting with content online, especially on a social media like twitter, where opinions are mainly brought to you through who you follow. It always feels good to get out of your own head in real life, be it by going on a walk or changing up your routine. Sometimes we should maybe also do it online. At the risk of sounding super cheesy, maybe challenging our ideas and opinions by, say, looking up a topic on incognito mode, or even simply by logging out of our accounts, is not that bad of an idea. Maybe without ending up on Nazi twitter, but hey, we make mistakes to learn from them.
(No for real please stay away from it) (don’t challenge your ideas that much)
Either way, I just thought I’d mention that it’s good to be aware of these nooks we create for ourselves when interacting with content online. Or whatever, you know? The queen died anyways, might as well get a good laugh out of it.
Berger, J. M. (2016). Nazis vs. ISIS on Twitter: 32.
*guts voice* this truly was Berserk [@hoshiumisexy]. (2022, September 15). Bro i get it now. The royal family lore. Princess Diana was itachi uchiha, she was too aware for her time so they set her up. Queen Elizabeth was Danzo, and prince Harry is sasuke UCHIHA while prince William is Naruto for deciding to be HOKAGE for the village that caused his mis [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/hoshiumisexy/status/1570332190164254721
The Swift Society [@TheSwiftSociety]. (2022, September 9). The queen is alive and well https://t.co/MM1reDHUP8 [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/TheSwiftSociety/status/1568387649194557441
The Yard. (2022, September 15). Ludwig’s New Lover… | The Yard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orfyfLKocw4
will [@getwellsoongeri]. (2022, September 18). the fact that the queen’s funeral is on the one weekend a year when the weather is perfect for this outfit. Diana’s ultimate revenge https://t.co/993EB1XUod [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/getwellsoongeri/status/1571498558544650240