Going Viral, The Second Time Around

I recently wrote about my negative experience with a viral tweet. After a couple years to reflect, I shared some of the downsides of what it was like to have a controversial tweet blow up overnight.

The short story is, it was stressful AF. But something interesting happened soon after publishing that article. A current event relevant to my tweet suddenly brought screenshots of it back into social media circulation.

Seemingly overnight, images of my tweet were blowing up on Imgur, Reddit, Instagram, and Twitter yet again. I only found out when friends and acquaintances started sending me screenshots of it and saying their own friends had been reposting and sharing it all over social media.

People I hadn’t talked with in years were letting me know they had seen it. Even an ex-boyfriend messaged me a screenshot when he saw it on the front page of Reddit! It was nice to have so many positive interactions with people I hadn’t talked with in a while.

Another benefit — back when I first started advocating for abortion, it upset many of my conservative relatives and family. But because I have worked so hard on those relationships, we’ve been getting through “round two” of my viral tweet without confrontation.

This experience is completely different than when that tweet first went viral in 2019, and it’s honestly so much better.

I had taken a risk turning my social media accounts public again right before this happened, and I was worried it would open me up to more trolling and hate. There have been fewer than a handful of trolls and naysayers since this tweet began being shared, and I blocked them immediately. No problem, right?

It may have something to do with my account’s usernames being changed since getting married (as I had hoped would be the case), and my profile photo being different. Some of my friends didn’t even recognize that it was me until I posted the tweet on my Instagram and they connected the dots. This gave me a natural advantage to avoid trolls and haters seeking me out.

When I saw a new image being shared on Twitter of my tweet’s words and my updated username, I thought it might invite trolling back to my profile. Instead, it brought new followers — many of whom I followed back!

Honestly, I couldn’t be more happy with the “going viral” experience the second time around. There are a lot of factors going into it that makes the whole thing different from when it happened in 2019, but I did brace myself for a similar experience when I realized what was happening.

Instead, it’s been a positive thing. The only downside is how sad it is that here we are two years later fighting the same battle for the right to access abortions, fighting the same foolish lawmakers, witnessing our rights being stripped away by religion’s overreach into our government.

I hope there is never a round three, and that this tweet fades away into irrelevant oblivion. I hope that we never again have to fight for the right to control our bodies, our pregnancies, and our own lives. But right now, it feels like that’s wishful thinking.

Nonfiction writer wrangling words and horses in the Pacific Northwest | she/they

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