The City That Breeds » Baltimore, Schadenfreude » How to take advantage of local natural disasters to make your tweets go viral

How to take advantage of local natural disasters to make your tweets go viral

Twitter is basically like a stream of consciousness thing that I use strictly for my own entertainment, so I never really expect people to find what I babble about online very interesting. But every now and then: I do something, a bunch of other people think it is worth repeating, and my phone makes noises all day. That is what we in the internet biz call “going viral.” Yesterday was one of those times.

That morning I woke up, looked out the window and noticed that Baltimore had received a light amount of snow overnight. “Oh well,” I thought, “the roads won’t be that bad, only a few inches.” So I brushed the snow off my truck (like, after I showered and stuff, I don’t live in my truck I swear) and started out for my short 10 mile commute up 83 north.

Holy jeez, I was wrong.

As soon as I got off the exit I saw the mayhem before me – cars were at a dead stop on 83 south and it looked like a demolition derby on 83 north. My truck and everybody around me suddenly had vehicles that handled as gracefully as bumper cars. Luckily, I was able to slowly slide my way to the office without getting into any serious trouble.

When I settled down in my cube, the first thing I thought to do was get on twitter and give the world a piece of my mind. So I did:

Then I went about my work for a while and checked back with twitter about an hour later… Baltimore twitter was still going bonkers about all the chaos on the roads. There were updates, images and wild allegations coming from every news personality and Baltimore citizen on my feed. So I decided to chime in with a stupid joke to lighten everyone up:

About 30 seconds after I posted that tweet, Justin Fenton (famous for his ‘The Wire’ before and after photo series) retweeted it out to his 24 thousand followers, and the race was off. A few more people immediately retweeted, and then their friends fav’d, and then more retweets… you get the point. It lasted all day. I was still getting interactions at 10pm.

The thing is, I didn’t really think that the tweet was all that interesting. All I did was google image search “the battle of hoth,” found a picture, made a comment, and threw it up there – hardly any effort at all. Later in the day I came to a realization though, a journalist friend of mine told me that the two things that everybody loves to complain about the most are the weather and traffic. Yesterday morning, Baltimore had the worst weather and the worst traffic happen at the exact same time. It was like the perfect storm for complaining! In this particular instance, the entire population of the Baltimore-Metro area was having a real bad time. Then I made a stupid silly tweet, it relieved about 130 people of stress for a few seconds, and I got a lot of internet points.

So you see kids… it isn’t about the actual effort you put into trying to go viral (or achieve any goal for that matter), but simply being in the right place at the right time.

I-83

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  • WhamBam TY Tam!

    Welcome DrRockt0pus (sounds like the title of a low budget SyFy movie starring a cast member from an early 90’s sitcom). I went viral once, but nothing antibiotics and a $20 copay couldn’t cure