Museum of London records city lockdown with viral tweets

The Museum of London has been collecting tweets from Londoners to add to an ongoing ‘Collecting COVID’ project called ‘Going Viral,’ it announced yesterday.

The project is described as a rapid-response, digital collecting initiative seeking to record how Londoners used social media interactions as a virtual form of camaraderie during lockdown.

Text, meme, video and image posts shared and liked more than 30,000 times on Twitter were considered, with 13 tweets already chosen for the Museum of London’s permanent London Collection.

MOVING ONLINE: The museum is still closed due to tier restrictions but visitors can still explore its collections online at

Digital Curator Foteini Aravani said: “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. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been no different with imagination, creativity and wit uniting us in never before seen ways while we’re physically separated by social distancing measures.”

The Collecting COVID project, first announced in April, is ongoing and aims to help future generations of Londoners understand the extraordinary coronavirus period.

‘Going Viral’ was inspired by research published by Twitter UK in August 2020 called ‘History in the Tweeting’. 

The research was based on an analysis of millions of Twitter conversations and revealed behaviours that emerged or grew more common during lockdown.

Such behaviours included expressing gratitude, getting creative and taking pleasure in the small things. 

Head of Planning Twitter UK David Wilding said: “The Tweets collected by the Museum of London capture how a sense of humour and a true sense of community helped people in London cope and help each other.”

While we do not know which 13 tweets were chosen for the collection, here are five of the best viral Londoner lockdown tweets we could find:

NOTE TO NEIGHBOURS: The first lockdown prompted many Londoners to get to know their neighbours better.
WORKING LIKE A DOG: It’s safe to say many pets were left confused as to why their owners were suddenly home all the time!
YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS: We all grew accustomed to social distancing, even our pets!
A GUINEA PIG IS NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS: Schools reopened and re-closed at short notice leaving some parents with more than they had bargained for.
EVERYONE’S AUNT: Will Hislop went viral during the first lockdown with his spoof video pretending to be a woman using #clapforheroes Thursdays as a chance to judge neighbours. He posted another one in January to bring his followers some more laughter.

The London Museum started ‘Going Viral’ to show how social media interaction has been an intrinsic shared experience for millions during the COVID-19 crisis, and how developing trends might affect the way communities connect for years to come.

More Tweets will be collected throughout 2021 for the project.

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