A Guide to Going Viral

by Ruby Martin

So perhaps you’re bored at work and are scrolling through the ol’ Twitter. You see something which makes you think of a pithy remark.  In my case, a comment on today’s travel shows.

You tweet it without much of a thought, yet what you don’t understand is today is your lucky day and you’re about to go on a journey like no other.

You’ve gone VIRAL BABY!

Yes, you are about to experience fleeting internet celebrity, an experience no one really prepares you for in this day and age, so we decided we’d give you a quick guide on what to expect when you do indeed go “viral”.

  1. Someone more important and funnier than you retweets you

Wow, someone other people find funny found your tweet funny so by proxy that means you’re funny. Noice. You pat yourself on the back and get back to whatever you were doing.

  1.  Someone they follow also retweets

Hey I recognise that person! They are normally retweeted by someone I follow and they seem pretty cool. You look at their followers. Damn, 29,000 people. That’s a lot. But that’s no guarantee that anyone could even see that tweet.

  1. Oh sh*t, quite a lot of people saw it.

You’re trying to get on with your day – in my case, I was in Sainburys and finding myself in the middle of the spice section with no idea what I’m buying as I am glued to my phone, rapt at the new-found fame as the likes and retweets start to stack up.

  1. You’re reaching over a 100 likes now.

Should probably plug something underneath.

  1. Why no followers?

A couple 100 in, no one wants in. Akin to an ambiguous date, it seems that everyone wants a one-time fling whilst you desperately try and convince them it will work as a long term thing, hastily retweeting all your best previous tweets to show off how constantly witty you are.

  1. Really important people start liking it.

In my case, someone who I sent off a job application to and someone I just read an interview in the guardian about. F*ck. I hope they don’t read my Charlie Chaplin thirst tweet.

  1. Yes, the followers start picking up finally.

You have to sleep due to a thing called “your paid job” but as things wind down for the night, you go to sleep content in your achievement.

photo of a woman hugging a blue pillow
“maybe now my parents are finally proud of me!!”
  1. You wake up. Oh god it’s still going.

Wow, you thought it was a pretty good tweet but you don’t understand it to THIS level. Take that impostor syndrome! You do wonder why it is a tweet that took you 0.00034 seconds to come up with blew up but you’re grateful for the victory. Best plug some other people whilst I’m here.

7. Your productivity is completely shot.

It was nice knowing you attention span.

  1. Semantic satiation

Semantic Satiation is the occurrence when you hear something so much you don’t know what it means anymore. In this case I look at my own tweet and I lose any linguistic confidence I ever had. Comedian? Travel show? What even is a joke anyway?

  1. People have started commenting and tagging people.

So far it’s all been nice and innocent but if you are a woman on the internet like me, you may be tense nonetheless.

  1. The existential crisis.

The twitter tab has stopped indicating notifications so I keep assuming it has stopped, that maybe everyone has realised it is not funny anymore before clicking to find it is still going. I worry what will I do when it actually stops. Who will I be? Will I still crave the fame?

  1. It is finally slowing down.

About 12pm, It is reaching the point where there is 30 seconds to a minute of nothing or when I click on the home feed there is no red bubble. For a whole minute. I am finally strong enough to close the Twitter window for a bit and try to work.

  1. Lies.

After 5 minutes I reopen Twitter and it seems to be back to business as usual.

  1. The mute

At 1150 likes I’ve finally muted it at least for a bit. I am a changed woman.

  1. The Un-Mute

I am an unchanged woman. Curious and with the willpower of a flea you will go back on checking whether it is still going or if the comments have turned nasty yet. So far it is and nothing mean so this is a successful Twitter interaction.

  1. Getting On with Your Life

After another day or two of constant notifications, I did actually have things to be doing and also couldn’t rest on my tweet laurels for too long. Reluctantly, I mute permanently this time and get back to my usual shameless self-promotion.

Having gotten over waiting for that Hollywood job offer, I think overall the one thing I’ve gotten from this is an underlying guilt every time I like or retweet a popular tweet. How many peoples days am I distracting? Or am I a just a meaningless drop in the ocean?? I also thought it would change the attitude to all my other tweets but I’m still happy if more than 5 people like it.  Turns out fame doesn’t change you at all – take that celebrities!


If you want to read more of the silly tweets I come up, you can follow me at @rubymartinart



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