Today’s blog post is Part Two of my account of going viral with my dumb-ass little Thermomix article.
If you missed Part One, GO BACK!! It’s here!
A short summary to recap: The viral post I uploaded to Hugzilla blog on the morning of Tuesday August 12 has racked up 4000+ Facebook shares in a 24-hour period. This post resumes my account from the morning of Wednesday August 13, after the initial flurry of viral activity has subsided.
THE ANATOMY OF A VIRAL POST: PART TWO
I get up in the morning, log onto my computer with stomach-roiling trepidation and breathe a sigh of relief. My share stats and page views for the Thermomix post have tapered off and plateaued overnight. The comments are all nice. I start to feel OK about things again and the adrenalin that fuelled me yesterday has dissipated.
Until I check my email.
The subject line says “Thermomix post” and the first line of the email identifies the sender as the deputy editor at Mamamia.
The team at Mamamia love the post and request permission to republish it on their site.
My legs buckle underneath me. I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me. I actually gasp.
I drag myself out of this momentary paralysis of bewilderment and exhilaration and jump straight into my online mother’s group, my go-to girls for all of life’s stun grenades. I am literally shaking. I don’t know what to do. This is the last thing I expect and I’m totally stunned. I find it very hard to type, but I manage to get a short post written. It isn’t even a question. It’s a slack-jawed statement of shock.
Several of us debate the pros and cons for a frantic couple of minutes, many urging me to do it. One person gives me the hearty thumbs up with a dubious nod to Kim Kardashian’s sex tape as her supporting argument and I decide to agree because 2014 for me is “The Year of Yes”, a strategy that has reaped great dividends so far.
I reply back with my permission. 20 minutes later my article is up on their site with a short bio, a profile picture and links to all my blogs and social media.
As soon as I receive the link, I send my husband an email at work with the sarcastic subject line “Is this viral enough for you?” and a link to the Mamamia article. It is one of the single most satisfying things I have ever done. I post it to my Facebook page not long after that and my friends and family explode with enthusiasm and cheer. I would never dream of saying it to their faces, but I love them all in that moment with a fierceness I never knew I possessed. They are awesome through all of this.
I am still shaking when I call my parents to tell them the news. They have no idea what Mamamia is. No idea what it means to “go viral” on the internet. “Is that a big deal, is it?” My mum actually says “Well, at least this one is quite clever, unlike the usual crap you write with all the swear words in it”. I can’t see it, but I’m pretty sure I make this face.
This little post now consumes almost every waking moment. I’m getting messages, phone calls, texts, FB comments and emails. I’m getting tagged in all kinds of Thermomix-related crap. I’m stuck to the laptop, obsessed with checking share stats, watching them explode. It’s mesmerising. It’s hard to believe any of this is actually real.
I take multiple screen shots of everything. Just to prove it actually happened.
Less than ten minutes after the post goes up on Mamamia someone comments with derision, criticising me for using the term “Thermie Tourettes” in my article. As soon as I see it I feel sick again. She is right. She is so right. 4000 people have already seen this post with that phrase in it. I feel sick. I feel like shit. I think about how angry and distressed I would feel if I saw someone casually mocking my son’s microtia and atresia or using his deafness as a comic pun.
I email my contact at Mamamia to have it changed to “Thermie Verbal Diarrhoea” and mercifully, it happens immediately. I jump onto the original post at Hugzilla, make the appropriate corrections and add a self-lacerating apology to the top of the post. I still admonish myself for ever allowing that phrase to get past my internal editor.
I am grateful to the person who points it out and I feel even more humble later on when she graciously accepts my correction and subsequent apology, when I really should be kicked, and kicked hard.
A friend warns me that the commenters at Mamamia can be a little, ahem, “spirited”, so I brace myself for the inevitable onslaught of internet hate after my earlier experiences with the Thermomix crowd, but bizarrely, they turn on each other instead. The Thermie-lovers and the Thermie-skeptics and the Thermie-haters and the garden-variety trolls who turn up anywhere they get the faintest whiff of some internet biffo.
Unwittingly, I’ve kick-started The Thermie Wars. Hordes of men and women are doing battle over a bloody kitchen appliance. Debate rages in the comments; insults and accusations are thrown about willy-nilly like decapitated heads at the Red Wedding, and there I am standing quietly in the middle, wishing I could pass around a platter of store-bought friendship muffins.
I know it is all getting too intense when my two year old grabs me by the arm and literally drags me outside to play. Away from my computer, and away from all this viral madness I sit playing in the dirt with my son, and in the midst of a companionable silence I realise that it is the anniversary of my best friend’s death. Before all of this exploded I had planned a quiet day of reflection at home, with the intent to write a post about her.
So, in one of the more bizarre twists of the day, I’m sitting in a pile of dirt in my front yard, crying. All the emotion of the last 24 hours spilling out of me, all of the sadness around my failure to commemorate her in the way I had planned to. And the guilt I feel knowing that I am going to be sucked back into the viral vortex as soon as I step inside. RIP my cheeky friend, I bet you are laughing your ass off right now.
The post keeps growing on Mamamia. The numbers become ridiculous. 2000, 6000, 10 000 shares and god only knows how many actual views. I have 30 000 page views on Hugzilla blog alone. The comments and messages keep coming. I’m getting invites to Thermomix parties. I am so sick of this article. Surely everyone has seen this now?
My husband comes home with chocolate and champagne and I am completely and utterly emotionally exhausted. He makes the mistake of pondering aloud how weird it is that this could happen to an “amateur” writer like me and I want to punch him. I’ve been paid to write for years, are you fucking kidding me? He also asks if I’ve ever written anything on the blog about him or his job that could get him fired, which I reply to with the withering stare of wordless disbelief it deserves.
He is finally impressed by the magnitude of all this and becomes infected by the obsession with stats. He keeps refreshing the page all night long, telling me how many shares I have. The next day he will count down to 12 000 shares via text message while he is at work. I don’t care any more. I want it to stop. I want it to go away.
I slip into a weird kind of hysterical megalomania and decide to start trolling Thermomix Australia to try and get myself a free Thermomix. I don’t even want one. I just want to see if I can get one. I’ve given these guys a whole heap of FREE ADVERTISING, right? Everyone is talking about their appliances so it must be one of the greatest and most organic triumphs of MARKETING and BRAND AWARENESS ever! People are accusing me of being a Thermomix HACK, a deliberate PLANT to advertise their product! They OWE me one of these things!
I email the PR/marketing team at Thermomix Australia to see if they would like to discuss a follow up post with me, and they wisely decline to reply. The silence is deafening.
I think the champagne must be going to my head because I briefly entertain the idea of tweeting them directly: “20K+ FB shares? What’s a girl got to do to get a free Thermomix around here?” Common sense prevails over my champagne buzz and I don’t do it. Clearly the team at Thermomix Australia think I am a total asshole too.
And then, the final crash. I curl up in the foetal position on the lounge and fall asleep at 7pm.
I am so thoroughly over myself.
The post isn’t even that good.
In the wash-up, having a viral post did remarkably little for my vital stats. Over 22 000 FB shares and countless page views later my Twitter following exploded from 31 to 43 people, I probably came away with an extra 100 Facebook followers and maybe 20 new subscribers to the blog.
Hugzilla: 6000+ FB shares
Mamamia: 16 000+ FB shares
On the plus side? I’m finally cool enough for my 13 year old niece to friend me on Facebook.
On the negative side? My friends keep tagging me in every frigging Thermomix thread they come across. I am going to be “That Thermomix Blogger” forever now. I will never live up to this post.
Take home message from this entire experience: My friends like to goad me, my family don’t understand me and people can be a bit touchy about their choice of kitchen appliances.
I also discovered that I really do prefer obscurity.
I don’t know how Kim Kardashian does it.