“schleichdiduoaschloch” Terror, collective memory, and social media

Tambuscio, M., & Tschiggerl, M. (2023). “#schleichdiduoaschloch” Terror, collective memory, and social media. Social Media + Society, 9(3).

Link: https://doi.org/10.1177/20563051231186365

Open access: Yes

Notes: In this article, the authors explore the role of collective memory on social media in response to the terrorist attacks in Vienna. To study this, they collected and analyzed tweets from the dates surrounding the terrorist attacks, focusing on the posts’ content, location, and hashtags. Overall, two elements are brought forward by their analysis. First, the different ways the terrorist attacks were discussed on the days surrounding the events became the basis for a new collective memory. For example, the story related to #schleichdiduoaschloch became a central story of national identity and resistance. Second, the collective memory of events are meshed with histories of other countries as they relate to past events, such as other terrorist attacks: “It is used for a re-actualization of already established collective memories and the new event is integrated into the pre-existing narratives and interpreted accordingly” (p. 9). For example, there was a strong response to these attacks in India, as they drew strong connections to similar terrorist attacks in the recent past.

Abstract: On November 2, 2020, the Austrian capital Vienna experienced the worst terrorist attack in decades: A self-proclaimed Islamist gunman killed four people and injured 23 others. The attack triggered an extremely strong media response, especially in the so-called social media. This article focuses on the days and weeks following the terrorist attack on Twitter as well as its first anniversary and the question of how collective memories formed within a very short time through the jointly negotiated remembrance of the terrorist attack by social media users around the world. The study also shows how the Vienna attack was incorporated into other pre-existing collective memories of other terrorist attacks and how it created memory waves spanning the whole globe. Within the first 48 hr, the narratives that should dominate the debate and the memory of the attack for the coming weeks took shape. The attack in Vienna was primarily reflected in places where comparable attacks had occurred in recent years and became a narrative part of other political or ideological conflicts.

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