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When My Simple Tweet Went Viral

The August heat was nearly unbearable. I arrive at West Orange High School with our three younger kids expecting to find a parking spot painted. We would then pack up and head over to First Watch which is our Saturday morning nosh spot of choice.

Tuns out that seniors at West Orange High School spend almost the entire day in the heat to paint their parking spots. This is tradition. Every year the current seniors paint over the art work from those that graduated the year before.

On this particular Saturday morning with the heat beating down us and kids complaining, I jump in line at the Kona Ice Truck to give the kids some relief. With sweat on the brow and kids clamoring around, I pull out my phone and take a picture of the scene. A minute later, I thumb type two lines of text in the Twitter client to remember the moment. I push the Tweet button at 11:40 AM on August 20th.
That was it, just a normal tweet on a Saturday morning in anywhere suburbia. What happened next with this tweet isn't really that spectacular, but it is interesting and I want to trace it out.

Tuesday, August 23

I'm talking in my office at work and my Android starts buzzing and buzzing. I notice my tweet from Saturday morning getting retweeted and liked. Jokingly, I tell the person in my office, I think I have a tweet going "viral" ha ha.

Around 12:20 I send a text to my wife and daughter, "my parking lot tweet is going viral at your school 37 retweets and 170 likes." At 12:44 I text, "59 Retweets and 177 likes. Aren't you glad I didn't mention you?" Then at 2:20 I send another text, "103 Retweets and 356 Likes."

My daughter learned what was going on. She summed it up perfectly in a text back to me, "Twitter added it [the tweet] to the senior parking spot moments which is like just a bunch of collected tweets about that in one little place." I reply back, "154 retweets and over 500 likes."

Thursday, August 25

A website called Hello Giggles publishes an amalgamation of tweets about seniors painting their parking spots and they include my tweet. A couple of Facebook friends start posting the article to my wall. My daughter sends me a text, "Zooey Deschanel posted it on FB too!"

Later in the day, a couple of people share that a site called Scary Mommy made a post similar to the one at Hello Giggles.

Friday, August 26

Eating dinner at home (on a Friday night) and I get an email from a co-worker. "your tweet is on" I get this text from daughter a few minutes later, "DAD YOUR TWEET IS ON PEOPLE.COM AND YOU DIDN'T TAG ME."

So, what's the results of a simple tweet going viral? Well it was fun, and I enjoyed making fun of the "exposure." As a result of the experience, I have some empathy for those on Twitter that get tons of @replies. It's hard to manage a large volume of incoming notifications on the Twitter platform. In addition, it was intriguing to watch the data. As the publisher of the tweet, Twitter shares some insightful analytics. Here's the highlights as of Friday night (yeah a single new follower):

Total engagements11,643
Detail expands
Media engagements
Profile clicks
Link clicks


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