So I was reminiscing on Twitter about my one brush with brief, viral fame. I unwittingly did THE POST. You know. The one that captures the imagination of the Twitter masses! And funny enough, all I had done was repost a picture I'd seen over on Facebook to Twitter, because my brain immediately went OMG IS THAT WHAT I THINK IT IS?
I flippantly posted in the morning at breakfast and then went to do rounds at the hospital. That was back in the day when Twitter would notify you via email if there was a comment or a retweet. Welp. Apparently after like a few tens of thousand of these, Twitter basically gets pissed and stops sending email notifications. News to me. But before that occurred, my phone blew up in between patients with c-diff colitis, community-acquired pneumonia, and urosepsis.
It wasn't until over lunch hour that I could get away and look at my computer (because I don't have Twitter on my phone -- I really don't like mixing Doctor Job and Writing Job). By then, I had something like 500K impressions. It was happening so quickly in real time that you could see the numbers increasing every few seconds. Likes, retweets, impressions, profile views.
Oh. My. God.
Not going to lie. I broke out in a cold sweat. How viral was VIRAL? Like, who would see this outside of Writing World Twitter? I mean, sure, my profile picture is the best (and only slightly enhanced) version of me and I typically look like total ass at work, but it's similar ENOUGH. I prize my privacy as a physician and have been vigilant about maintaining total secrecy about writing life with my medical colleagues, staff members, and employer. (Long story, but my books have dark themes that might not be appreciated by a super square healthcare organization. A physician friend of mine was fired for writing sexy romances. Duly noted.)
Anyway. Back to the cold sweat. So there I am, sitting in an empty patient room, computer hooked up to my hot-spot for internet because I don't want to send ALL THAT through the corporate servers, and my heart is pounding. Do I yank the tweet? Stare at it? Or do I respond? I chose to respond, and had some fun with it, but the next several days were wild in terms of retweets and likes and messages. You all, there were even made-up articles about me and this tweet in places like BuzzFeed.
I'd love to tell you that going viral resulted in a gazillion purchases of my books and drove new readers to my work and made me a bestseller. Nope. Not even close. I'm guessing like two or three books and perhaps a handful of new follows. Probably because I didn't do that thing you're supposed to do when you go viral, where you put the "buy my stuff" post. I had zero situational awareness to think to take advantage of the brief rise in traffic. But yes, it was a fun ride!
So here we are 5 years later...
You all. It still looks like a sanitary pad.