Last week the Netherlands-German border was struck by a 4.2 earthquake which went unnoticed by many but not on Twitter. It was joked that the quake had a bigger impact on Twitter than anywhere else. I was interviewed by Radio 1 about this phenomenon and I briefly talked about the resemblance between the recent East Coast quake and our Dutch quake as reported on Twitter.
One of the similarities was the posting of images illustrating the “devastating” effects of the quakes. The fallen plastic lawn chair became an iconic image of the East Coast quake and was copied by many Dutch Twitter users posting similar images.
This may be understood in the light of the web’s sharing culture and meme culture where a particular idea spreads itself online. The fallen lawn chair image became an iconic picture and spread itself virally through re-posting and sharing. The idea of ironically depicting the “devastating” mess and “destruction” of the earthquake was copied in the Dutch quake and produced its own viral image of fallen over toys. More on the quake and Twitter in the interview on Radio 1 (in Dutch): Aardbeving deed het goed op Twitter