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Reactions on social media after Brexit

The surprising result after the referendum in the United Kingdom as to whether it should remain in the EU or not generated immediate - and strong - reactions on social media.

The leave campaign won, contrary to polls pre-result and predictions from betting companies before the referendum.

Firstly, it is clear that those wishing to remain in the European Union are the most visible. That the remain enthusiasts are the most visible on social channels, in particular on microblog Twitter, is not altogether surprising. After all, they lost. And the losers may feel a greater need to once again express their position as a result of their frustration after losing.

Class issues came to the fore as well; the remain side is arguably, to a larger extent, a part of the establishment, in turn meaning that they are more accustomed to using social media in general and Twitter in particular. Twitter is regarded in many respects as an "elite" media, especially in Sweden.

As news travels quickly across the digital landscape, the election results were barely finished when the first reactions came. Satirical hashtags popped up quickly: Grexit, Departugal, Italeave, Fruckoff, Czeckout, Outsria, Finish, Slovakout, Latervia and Byegium (and that's just a handful).

Many users also revelled in the fact that former London mayor Boris Johnson, the leave camp's most famous proponent, bears a striking resemblance to Donald Trump.

An assortment of reimagined EU flags also took Twitter by storm.

On Monday, when the Swedish stock market opened after annual Midsummer celebrations, Twitter seemed largely concerned with theories on the financial impact of the referendum result.

Using Observify for social media monitoring of this particular topic revealed some telling insights. The social media sentiment of Swedish reactions regarding Brexit is, not surprisingly, as divided as the polling results were. Half of the social media mentions analysed showed a positive attitude towards the outcome, while the other half was critical. In Sweden, the far left and right wing supporters demonstrate positivity; although they don’t embrace it fully, they argue that the EU needs a major reform. Swedes tending to see the outcome as a mistake rather than a victory are airing their concerns across social channels - primarily with regard to the economic ramifications of the #EUref. Sweden's former state and foreign minister, Carl Bildt, captured a significant amount of Twitter reactions with his comment:

”I would classify this as a nightmare.”


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