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Swedish teen caught in Obama Twitter crossfire

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Swedish teen caught in Obama Twitter crossfire
12:29 CEST+02:00
A 19-year-old Swedish woman has been caught in the middle of an internet storm after her Twitter account matched the name of US President Barack Obama's "Life of Julia" women's rights campaign.

Julia Lindberg, from Eskilstuna in central Sweden, created her Twitter account two years ago with the name “@LifeofJulia”.

When President Obama launched a campaign by the same name in May this year, Lindberg noticed a surge in unusual messages.

“I thought it was spam,” she told The Local.

“I hadn't heard of the campaign and didn't understand what was happening. It wasn't until after two months when I showed my brother that I got it, and we were on the floor laughing!”

Obama's campaign, “The Life of Julia” followed the life of “Julia”, a fictional character, from the age of three until her retirement.

Throughout an accompanying online slide show, Obama's healthcare plans were contrasted with Mitt Romney's as “Julie” experiences such life events as college, surgery and pregnancy.

Meanwhile, there was a backlash from political commentators in the US, one of whom created a parody Twitter account - and this is where the complications really began for Lindberg.

The parody account, which now has 2,500 followers, had the name @LifeofJulia too, except the “L” in the word “Julia” was actually a capital “I”.

This meant that when outraged people wanted to respond to the parody account's messages, they were inadvertently sending their messages to a 19-year-old dance student from Eskilstuna.

“This whole thing is so weird and random, but that's typical, these things are always happening to me,” she says.

While admittedly not a keen follower of US politics, Lindberg explained that it's been both interesting and hilarious reading the messages she has recieved.

“Some are actually kind, many are very angry. The parody account surely gets people talking… and when they write, I answer – in English of course,” she says.

For now, Lindberg is keen to continue leading the real “life of Julia” and intends to keep the account.

“I definitely won't change it; this whole thing has been really fun. And I've got so many new followers from it anyway, I'd be mad to get rid of it now!”

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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