Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 115 of 365: Going Viral

So, once upon a time, I wrote a little essay on here called "Be Kind to Your Children's Teachers". Aside from a glaring grammatical error in the first paragraph, I polished it up and sent it to Thought Catalog. They renamed it "Parents Need to be Reminded that Teachers are People, Too" (which doesn't have as nice of a ring to it, but, hey, not the editor here). It got a decent response. Not crickets, but not as big as my "27 Things You Learn by 27". Like many of my essays, I immediately shifted focus to what I could write/send next and went on with my day.

A few days ago, I started getting emails. People were contacting me about that particular essay. Some were thanking me; others were point out the glaring grammatical error (which I find slightly ironic because the next paragraph is all about nitpicking a teacher's spelling and grammar). But the emails kept coming in and I couldn't figure out why. I eventually chalked it up to spam on overload and went on my day.

Then I got tagged in one of my former English teacher's post. I clicked on it, ready to laugh and untag myself. Since my first name is Abby, I tend to show up first on a lot of people's lists, which leads to a lot of accidental tagging. But instead of finding a random picture, I found my article. I thought to myself, "How in the world did she find this?"

I click on it, and I learn that my essay had gone viral.

Right now it's at over 100,000 shares on Facebook and a couple hundred on Twitter. I know that, in this day and age, something going viral usually results in a few million shares and views and likes, but still. Compare this to the couple hundred shares my "27 Things" got -- and I considered that a blooming success.

I fully recognize this entry is me just patting myself on the back for something I had absolutely no control over. Things go viral the same way a certain disease epidemic will start (hence the fucking term "viral"). For crying out loud, this essay is over a month old. But that's how those things work. It's how the "Woman Throwing Puppies into a River" randomly resurged (even though this happened in 2010, went viral in 2010, and resulted in the woman getting arrested and, miraculously, all but two puppies found and saved in 2010).

All I can say is it feels damn good to be able to put "successful essay" as part of my writing résumé. It seems silly, but editors and agents and publishing houses only care if you can pull in an audience. So fingers crossed for me and my writing future. EDIT: And, duh, if you haven't read it but want to, here's the link:

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