When you go viral unintentionally, how do you reproduce this?

Since last night, a tweet of mine has been going viral.

Sadly, it’s not a Bredemarket tweet, so the virality isn’t directly benefiting my marketing and writing services business. But perhaps I can learn from it.

I maintain two Twitter accounts. The @jebredcal account which tweets posts from this blog is my professional account, which naturally means that the other account, @empoprises, is my “amateur” account. I intentionally segregated it because I figure that most of you aren’t interested in my tastes in music…or my Mad Libs.

Mad Libs?

Let’s start last night’s story with Greg Kelly, a well-known Newsmax host with nearly 300,000 Twitter followers. Yesterday afternoon, he tweeted this rather bizarre item:

SMOKING WEED (aka GRASS) is NOT a good idea. I’ve tried it (back in the day) and it was WORSE than anything that happened to HUNTER BIDEN. I “toked up” with some buddies in Kentucky and woke up 4 days later in Nairobi, Kenya. With no idea what happened. DON’T DO DRUGS.

Because of Kelly’s prominence as well as the content of the tweet itself, this has received major attention from TMZ, Huffpost…and Brian Hamm.

Now Brian Hamm is not quite as famous as Greg Kelly, but he made a rather interesting point in his tweeted reply.

Reads like a Mad Lib.

SMOKING (Drug) is NOT a good idea. I’ve tried it and it was WORSE than anything that happened to (celebrity). I (slang for drug use) with some buddies in (State) and woke up (number) days later in (Foreign City) with no idea what happened. DON’T DO DRUGS.

Now yesterday I hadn’t seen what TMZ wrote about Kelly’s tweet, and I hadn’t seen what Huffpost wrote about Kelly’s tweet…but I had seen what Brian Hamm wrote about Kelly’s tweet. And I took a position that isn’t all that unusual on my amateur account.

Challenge accepted. (I hadn’t played Mad Libs in a while, anyway.)

Now the tweet itself is not a remarkable tweet. Frankly, it wasn’t even the best tweet that I wrote on the @empoprises yesterday. (I think my “Disneyland launches its plan to enforce social distancing in the park” tweet is better.) And on my “professional” Twitter account, I tweeted a link to my “trust” post as well as a link to the Innocence Project’s efforts to improve the forensic science discipline. A Mad Lib about smoking pizza and ending up in Ottawa falls pretty low on the importance scale AND the interest scale.

Or so I thought, because the Twitterverse disagreed with me.

Within two hours, my throwaway tweet had received over 9,000 impressions. Within fifteen hours, the statistics for the tweet are as follows:

  • Over 48,000 impressions
  • Over 1,000 engagements, including over 700 likes, 78 clicks on my profile, 21 retweets, and 8 replies

And the statistics still continue to climb.

Now I did not sit down yesterday evening and plan to latch on to a popular tweet to drum up impressions and engagements. Frankly, if I HAD planned this, I would have latched on to something other than a Greg Kelly tweet, and I would have planned a response that would provide some more tangible benefit to me. (Unless the Ottawa tourism folks decide to use me, there’s no way I can monetize my viral content.)

And to be honest, I’m repulsed by the idea of latching on to every single identity or technology trend and trying to insert monetizable content into it. I could do it, but I would do it very badly. (Hey, here’s a trending tweet from a famous politician about proposed forensic science legislation! Time for another Mad Lib!)

But perhaps I should keep my eyes open in case a relevant, popular tweet shows up in my professional Twitter feed. If I can contribute something MEANINGFUL to the conversation, perhaps I could get some deserved attention.

So now I’m challenging myself. In March, my most popular tweet from my @jebredcal professional Twitter account received 211 impressions and 9 engagements. (And it wasn’t a reply to a tweet, but it did mention two Twitter users with 800+ follwers and 5400+ follwers.) Let’s see if I can beat that in April and get 212 or more impressions and 10 or more engagements on a tweet.

Challenge accepted.

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