Going Viral…Holy Shit
This is a true account of what happens when you put something out there and it goes viral. No names in this post have been changed to hide any ones identities, lol, that’s how I roll!
For my second blog post, I am torn between which story to go with? Girls Just Wanna Have Tea, a hard hitting story on how to throw a tea party; or New Brunswick, Canada, You’re Going to Hate It! A fun tongue and cheek story about my home.
Late Sunday afternoon, I decide to go with the N.B. story, I read it one last time, hoping that people will get the humor, but if they don’t, how many people will actually see it?? Probably not many. I hit send and go on with my day.
By Monday morning I have gotten a few comments, I am excited, the first few are from friends, but sprinkled in there are a few from people I don’t know. I am reaching people I don’t know, how cool is that?
During the day, I periodically check my emails, each time I have a few more views and comments. By the time I get home that evening, I am very pleased with myself. My second post is getting much more attention than my first post; where I explored the controversial topic of how to take the perfect selfie.
My post gets its first share on Facebook from Paul, a fellow Monctonian. I am so touched, that he thought my post was interesting enough to share with his friends. By the afternoon, I have a few more shares. This is turning out to be a good Monday!
After dinner, while looking at my blog analytics, I notice, if I scroll down…all the way down, I can see more numbers; how many people have visited my site and where they are from… those sorts of things. It takes me a few minutes to figure things out, but when I do, I noticed that 2,100 have viewed my post in the last 24hrs!!!
Holy Shit!! 2,100 people viewed my post!!! How awesome! I call my mom, I am so excited, I need to share. After 5 minutes of explaining what a blog is, I am still not convinced she got it, I ask her to guess how many people have viewed my post so far?
Her first guess is 100K…really?? My 2,100 views suddenly feel tiny compared to 100K. When I bark back “mom!” she just laughs. I should note that she doesn’t have a computer, she knows how to text and that’s pretty much it, so I decide to cut her a bit of slack.
By the time we hang up, I have instructed her that the next time we speak, if asked to guess my number she would pick a realistic number, pretty much any number under 100K! She asks how many I want, I tell her that hitting 3K or even 4K would be super cool.
A few hours later I pass 3K, then 4K! I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the following people: Barney, Lynn, Staci, Claudia, Aline, Kenda, Cindy and Guylaine; because for the rest of that evening, they get regular text updates on how many people have viewed me; and by regular I mean every 20 minutes…ok maybe every 15 minutes.
When I surpass 5K and am almost at 6K, the texts are all the same, brief and to the point: WTF??? I start wondering if I am reading my stats correctly? One last text to Barney, who is away with his family, sorry, Barney’s family; he confirmed the stats are correct. Barney has become my unpaid technician and blog expert.
I decide to go to bed, I wondered if I could possibly hit 8K by the morning? I think that it maybe possible? But then reality sets in, nah, it will die down by the morning.
I wake up early Tuesday morning and the first thing I do is reach for my phone to check my stats. Over 8K views!! And lots of new comments. I make certain to reply to each one of them before I get out of bed. Most are recommendations for places I should visit or things I should try. All are polite and make me feel warm and fuzzy.
By the time I am ready to leave for work, I hit 9K views!! I am not sure why, but I instantly start to feel anxious and actually start breaking out in hives. I don’t know why? It’s such an honor to have people take the time to read something you have written. But on the other hand, 9,000 people have just read something that I have written! I think I am feeling a bit vulnerable, which is strange, since I started this blog and I posted of my own free will.
By the time I get to work, the anxiety is now mixed with excitement, after updating my coworkers with my unbelievable stats. I decide to stop looking, plus I know that the numbers will start to slow down shortly.
At lunch with my friend Staci, I pulled out my cell and see that I’ve just hit 13K!!! OMG!!
At this point, I am questioning what is going on here? Why is my little post about my little province so popular? One more text to Barney to ask: when do you know if you have gone viral? To which he replies, “Liette, you are viral!” Yikes!
Our next stop is Party City, I had joked earlier that if I reached 500 followers, I would do what celebrities do and take my photo with giant numbered balloons. It would be cheesy, dorky and awesome!! I decided that 13K is reason enough to celebrate!
I asked Staci if I should be so bold as to as to assume that I will hit 14K before the next morning? I decide to go for it, what the hell. I pay for a number one, a number four and a letter K; I’ll pick them up after work.
Later that afternoon, my friend Michael, asks again if I have started getting any creepy emails yet? “No, just yours” I reply. He had sent me a cranky message as a joke, he says, the creeps will come, just wait. He is more of a glass half empty kind of guy, lol. All comments so far have been super supportive, nothing negative to report.
A few hours later, I get my first angry comment, instead of being upset, I think, wow! I have really made it now! It was someone who didn’t think that N.B. being bilingual is an asset, blah, blah, blah. It ended with “this F#@$ing Sucks”, not my blog post, but the fact that French people have equal rights I guess?? I have to approve all comments before they appear on my page. I considered approving knowing that the general public would come to my defense. I think about it for a moment, then decide that I want my blog to be a positive space, so not approving his rant. I am open to some controversial topics, if you want to debate which is better a sticky bun or a “pet de soeur”, bring it on!
For the rest of the afternoon the views and comments keep coming in. Bloggers are sharing and re-posting, local N.B. businesses are sharing. My friend Cindy sends me a note that her friends, who don’t know me, are sharing my post. I can’t tell if she is annoyed or happy about that? Lol, teasing, I think she is at the holy shit stage. She was the first to read my post, I sent it to her for feedback. She offered up some helpful suggestions, thank you Cindy!
By now, the anxiety is gone, I realize that this has taken on a life of its own and that I am just along for the ride.
When I leave work to pick up my balloons, I am already past 15K. What the hell am I going to do with my number 4 balloon now? I decided to skip 5 and get a number 6 balloon. I figure that by the time I get home, I will be at 16K, which I was; now I was just getting cocky.
Next is the reflective stage; what is it about this post that people connected with? I think that I have tapped into a feeling of pride? By highlighted a few things that make N.B. awesome, maybe it have reminded others how great it is? Or maybe it have given others the opportunity or the permission to boast a bit too? I think there is a feeling that N.B. is ignored by those who have never been there. We have been the drive through province, but those who have taken the time to stop, love it. Maybe instead of being Canada’s overlooked province, we are Canada’s best kept secret?
I make plans to have my picture taken with my balloons in front of the Welcome to Vegas sign the next day. Even after being here for two years, I still pinch myself and think, you live in Las Vegas! So the visual of a girl from Moncton, standing in front of the Las Vegas Sign with balloons that say 16K for a blog post about her home province, seemed like something I wanted to do! So doing it!
I wake up to discover that I am at 22K views, so my 16K balloons now seemed silly, there goes $30…US!!
By the time I leave for work I am at 23K & 25K after lunch!
My friends back home are telling me that they are seeing my story all over their Facebook feeds. It feels strange that I am getting my 15 minutes of fame for a story I wrote about my home province, while I am living in Vegas.
I decide to call my dad, I am almost positive my mom hasn’t told him about my budding fame. He is a fairly popular guy in the area. He’s sort of like Madonna and Cher, he only needs one name…Tilly. I didn’t want people to tell him that they saw his daughter on the internet, without knowing what I was doing on the internet, lol. So I explain to him what a blog is and tell him how many views I have gotten, his response is “ya ok”. I hang up telling myself that I am sure he is really excited…on the inside.
By the time I go to bed, things are starting to slow down a bit. My daily total for Tuesday was 13,268K, today my daily total is only 9,645. As soon as I say it, I see how crazy of a statement it is; only 9K today, oh no, am I becoming jaded…already? This week has been crazy and it’s only Wednesday.
My morning total is 27,899, I am confident that I will hit 28K in the next few hours. I am a starting to feel a bit detached; it’s difficult to wrap my brain around the reality of this number.
It’s hard to believe that 27,899 people have taken the time to click on my link and read all of, or part of, my little story about N.B. To be honest, I would have been thrilled with 500 views and blown away by 1000 views, the higher the numbers get, the more surreal all of this feels.
By the time I get home from work I have hit 30K! Feeling so thankful and blown away, my brain hurts!
I call my parents and speak to my dad, he is starting to take interest; he asked and I quote: “how is your thing with the people going?” I feel like I am making progress on the parent front!
I think I am suffering from a blog hangover, lol, it’s too much!
I feel that I inadvertently accomplished something that I suspect most bloggers never get to experience. When you start a blog, you want people to like your content and you want to build your followers; I was expecting a slow build. I didn’t expect this and to be honest, I wasn’t ready for it, I was still working out the kinks for gosh sakes!
On my drive home from work, I catch myself making a mental list of all the people who have reached out and sent me a quick email or text and those who have shared my link. And for the first time this week, I get a bit of a negative vibe as I take stock of those who are close to me, who haven’t said boo. In the grand scheme of life, this isn’t such a big deal, I know that, but it does make me think, maybe a bit too much??
I check my stats one more time before bed; my daily numbers are slowing down, it has been a hell of a great ride! But this train is approaching the gate and to be honest, that is fine with me.
I am up early to catch a flight to Oklahoma City for my real, paying, job. Wow, what a week! I have stopped checking my stats every 20 minutes. It was fun, but a bit exhausting.
My daily total on Friday was a little over 2K, my grand total by Saturday night is 33,740. I am going to put it out there, that I will hit 35K!
If someone had told me last Sunday, when I hit send, that I would be sitting in a hotel room in Oklahoma City writing that I want to hit 35 THOUSAND views on my second blog post, I would have laughed my head off. But here I am!
Here is what I am going to take away from this experience. Ready or not, shit happens, you may as well enjoy the ride! That sometimes failure is easier to wrap your head around than being successful. And that one should not underestimate the power of their community, correction, my community! New Brunswick, maybe small in size and in population, it may have its economic struggles, but the people kick ass! Although I have had views from around the world, the majority are from Canada and of those, I suspect a large part of fellow New Brunswickers.
Thanks to all who have taken the time to read my posts, if you like my style and my swagger, please subscribe; if you do, you will receive an email each time I post something. Which will be once a week. I am pretty sure you won’t want to miss my next post, which will most likely be how to throw a tea party! I bet you can hardly wait, lol.
Thank you! Merci!!