‘Brussels will land on its feet like a cat’: motivations for memefying #Brusselslockdown

Minna Jensen, Christina Neumayer, Luca Rossi

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article explores user motivations for sharing and creating internet memes in a crisis situation. For this purpose, we investigate the kitten memes in #Brusselslockdown on Twitter, following the Brussels security lockdown in November 2015 that resulted from information about potential terrorist attacks. We use a social network analysis to identify three user groups: content producers, content sharers, and conversationalists. On the basis of interviews with users from these three groups, we argue that the motivations for sharing and creating memes range from personal involvement in the crisis situation to acts of resistance to creative self-realization. We conclude by arguing that a combination of motifs and activities employ the visuality of internet memes to express popular internet culture, resistance, and solidarity as well as a humorous means of coping with the crisis situation. As a form of solidarity beyond the political, internet memes create tension between a crisis event, the mundane, terror, resistance, and humor.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation, Communication & Society
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018


  • User motivations
  • Internet memes
  • Crisis communication
  • Social network analysis
  • #Brusselslockdown


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