SuperMémé: Elmo, the unexpected confidant of Internet users

SuperMémé: Elmo, the unexpected confidant of Internet users

With just one question, the character Elmo created a sensation on X, formerly Twitter. By asking “How are you?”, the “Sesame Street” plush toy triggered a wave of responses as serious as they were offbeat. A small phenomenon, seemingly anecdotal, but which says a lot about the mental health of Internet users. This is our Supermeme of the day.

Who would have thought that Elmo would provoke so much reaction on X with a seemingly innocuous question? Yet with his “How is everybody doing ?” (“How’s everyone?”), the character from the series “Sesame Street” struck a chord. The publication on the social network

Behind this virality, users shared their state of mind, sometimes funny, but which most often reflects a collective malaise: “My wife left me – My daughters don’t respect me – My work is a joke – Any more questions, Elmo??? Jesus!” Several other users responded with a GIF of Elmo: “The world is burning around us, Elmo.” A way to share their feelings of anxiety and fear with a touch of humor.

Some brands have taken advantage of this viral content using memes, like the British franchise of the Domino’s chain: “Quite good”, they commented in the caption of a photo showing the kitchens of a burning pizzeria.

In addition to having entertained X users by allowing them to confide in themselves, the virality of Elmo’s post allowed the line 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifelineoffering help by telephone to people in difficulty, to remind Internet users of their existence: “Hey @elmo, we’re here for anyone struggling with difficult emotions. No matter what someone is going through, #988Lifeline is here to help. Call or text 988 to connect with a trained and caring crisis counselor who is ready to support you 24/7“.

A message echoed and amplified by the official account of the Elmo series, “Sesame Street”: Thank you @Elmo for reminding us to pause and take the time to focus on how we feel.

Far from being a simple buzz, Elmo’s post is symptomatic of an ambient unease among Internet users. An observation highlighted by psychiatrist Chris Palmer on Elon Musk’s social network: “Thanks for checking in, Elmo. We are facing a mental health crisis and the same old solutions will not solve the problem. I hope you will discover the scientific links between our metabolic health and our mental health. It’s no coincidence that rates of obesity and diabetes are increasing at the same time as rates of mental illness“.