The perils of going viral.
I am a word nerd.
For me, writing is a passion. It’s just something I’ve always loved.
The thing about writing is that it’s not something one can really do on demand. Ideas come and go, and often times, if they’re not scribbled down, they’re gone for good.
But every now and then, inspiration hits and the words just flow freely into thoughts and fragmented sentences and paragraphs, and sometimes they come together in such a way that they provide a bit of inspiration for others.
Whether fueled by sadness or anger, laughter or joy, frustration or fatigue, words have the power to make people think and feel, and to make them respond in unexpected ways.
Such was the case with a 2 am post I made last week after a very long day at a conference and wrapping up some post-conference work. When perusing the news, I found a story about beloved Today Show host and New York Times best selling author Hoda Kotb. The topic was a petition that several entitled Tulane University students had penned when they learned the celebrated journalist was selected to deliver the commencement address at their upcoming graduation.
The petitioning students felt they “deserved better.”
When I read the story, I felt a rush of emotions, including dismay at the sense of entitlement these students displayed, and anger at the total lack of compassion or respect for someone who, in all likelihood, had accomplished more in her lifetime than the students ever will. And I felt tremendous sadness for Ms. Kotb. Because it was she who deserved better.
So I did what I do. I wrote.
Despite my fatigue, or perhaps because of it, the words poured from my fingertips into a rather lengthy diatribe that pretty much called the students out for the utter lack of class in their preposterous petition. I suppose one could say the venting was therapeutic, as I didn’t hold back.
The bottom line is that we’ve all known them. The “Mean Girls” (and Boys) who think that by virtue of their very existence, they’re entitled to being coddled and catered to, admired and celebrated. They look down their noses at anyone who doesn’t place them on a pedestal and worship them. And they treat such as peasants and nuisances. Classy. Real classy.
Reality check. Just ’cause you’re special to your mama, that doesn’t mean you’re as special to the rest of the world.
So here’s what happened next.
I wrapped up my thoughts, posted on the RightBrainDiaries blog and went to bed. The next morning, I jetted off for another day of the conference. When I returned home, I hopped on the blog and was stunned to learn that in just eight hours, the post had garnered nearly 7,000 reads and over 4,100 social media shares. Mind blown.
What happened after that was frustrating.
As the post continued to be shared, the blog traffic increased so much that the site kept crashing. At any given time, there were 300-450 people perusing the site (which I later learned was able to efficiently handle 100-125 concurrent visitors,) with shares in excess of 1,000 times per hour.
It was rather perplexing to think that my wee hour post resonated so deeply with that many people.
Clearly, the world is tired of the entitled mentality and those who think they deserve more than they earn.
So after numerous crashes over the next few days, the web host’s technicians advised that I should migrate the site to their “more reliable” cloud service. For a fee, of course.
As it seemed I had no choice, I paid the fee. The migration, which I would told would likely take about an hour, began. Some six hours later, it was still not completed. So that was six hours of downtime at the worst possible time ever (for the blog, anyway.) When the migration began, the post already was at 13,000 shares and showed no signs of slowing down.
And so finally, the website loaded on its new “more reliable” server.
To my chagrin, I noted that the social media counter had reset to zero. Gone were the 13,000 shares honoring Hoda and her achievements.
But then it got worse.
The counters had reset for every single post on the blog—over 1½ years worth of work, representing numerous artists and their works. Zero. Nada.
Fortunately, the content was still present. But the counters—nothing.
And to make matters worse, the “new, more reliable cloud server” crashed even more often than its predecessor. For the next three days, it was down far more often than it was up.
Somehow, between all the crashes, the post has managed to garner an additional 41,000 shares and it appears it’s not slowing down. Collectively, the pre-and post-migration shares, nearly 54,000 shares in all, exceed the totality of shares acquired by every single post in this site’s history, combined—from The Beatles Adventures to Hope for Habitat to random Musings. All from one post that evidently sums up what many are thinking.
Mean girls (and guys,) get over yourselves already.
So what’s the point of this post?
Words can be powerful. People are tired of entitled mindsets. And, as these students are now learning, once you post something on the web, the consequences can be far reaching.
And oh, how people love Hoda Kotb.
To the artists whose works featured on this site have, over the past year, garnered numerous social media shares, I’m so sorry for the counter resets. For the newcomers to this site, those numbers do not reflect how many have loved and shared these artists’ talents and their stories.
To the (most likely very few) people who have read this far, if you happen to be visiting this site, please consider taking a minute or two to check out the spectacular Hope for Habitat: Katrina X artwork that these artists have created to benefit East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity, and show them some social media love.
If you stumbled upon this site because you encountered the now-viral Hoda Kotb post, feel free to show her some love, too. Join her fans in a virtual, online toast here.
And Hoda, the offer for that glass of wine while you’re in NOLA still stands. Cheers.