What happens when your tweet goes viral?

A strange thing happened to me yesterday. One of my tweets went viral.

Was it a profound statement on life, death or the meaning of the universe, you may be wondering. Er, no. I nicked a (very silly) joke my agent posted on facebook and stuck it on twitter. Here’s the joke….

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And I tagged my agent in the picture as I thought it would be polite. Oops. Think he’s still speaking to me…

 Why that joke, you may be wondering – surely there are far better ones? Of course there are. So I’ll tell you.

Malorie Blackman retweeted the joke.

And then Simon Mayo did too. Just as I was settling in for The Great British Bake Off.

My phone started pinging tweet notifications. At first I thought it was because I’d tweeted something to #ukmgchat (even though I write YA, I love #ukmgchat. Not that I need an excuse or anything, but there are a several mg writers in my top 20 favourite writers of all time.)

Anyway, I dragged my eyes away from GBBO to look at my phone. 50 retweets of joke. I sent a direct message to my agent apologising for tagging him – I knew his phone would be pinging as much as mine. And went back to GBBO.

People, I nearly missed what happened with the baked Alaskas. At 250 retweets, I put the phone on silent. I needed to know who was going to be star baker.

At the end of the programme it had reached 500 retweets, I opened a bottle of wine and poured myself a glass, even though it was only Wednesday. I sent a direct message to my eldest daughter, who once had a tweet go viral while she was sleeping. It changed her life. Admittedly it was a more profound tweet and led to the foundation of a new charity and her being invited to number 10 and meeting Ed Milliband too – which is unlikely to happen with a terrible thesaurus joke. But I knew she’d understand how weird I felt.

She laughed her head off. Not at the joke. Just the irony of such a stupid joke going viral.

By the time I went to bed, I’d had 1,200 retweets.

This morning it’s up to 2,200. People all over the world love a thesaurus joke it seems. My new followers include someone called Randy Queen (don’t look and no I didn’t follow back) and the Paignton Police (presumably Wednesday night isn’t a big night for catching crims in downtown Paignton. Or maybe the zoo lost a dinosaur?)

My phone is still on silent as the number of retweets rises.

And what have I learnt from all this? Er…well I’m just so glad I’m not Stephen Fry. He must get this ALL THE TIME.

That’s it really.

Questions from an idiot blogger

Morning listeners! (Before we start, yes I am fully aware it’s an empty room…)

Anyway, have been reading some great blogs by other bloggers and realise there are still massive gaps in my blogging ability. The gaps are like dark matter in the cosmos – there’s an awful lot of it. In fact it takes up infinitely more space than the stars…

So today am hoping to find a few stars who can help fill the following knowledge gaps:

1. How do you create links? Do I have to read a whole Dummies Guide to coping with this stuff to find out, or is it quite simple?

2. What about following other bloggers – can I follow bloggers I actually like or only the ones who are WordPress bloggers?

3. Why does WordPress publish a post when I’m not expecting it to, and gets difficult when I’m actually trying to post something?

4. Should I defect to Blogger?

Am still convinced the whole of this blogging thing a conspiracy to confuse a simple writer, especially when simple writer is aware no one is going to read the damn blog anyway.

If you got as far as this – thanks. You are a star in the firmament.

Another day, another attempt at blogging

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Hi. In case you’re wondering, WordPress is definitely part of a massive technical conspiracy to stop me blogging. Probably not a bad thing – after all, the world really doesn’t need another blog, but am a) stupidly optimistic I can do it and b) determined to outwit WordPress.

So here we go –  attempt no. 6

WordPress sabotaged last night’s attempt by posting my book cover on twitter without telling me – and I wasn’t supposed to show anyone yet. Hastily deleted. Still, not quite as bad as the time before when WordPress convinced me to post on someone else’s blog by mistake and I couldn’t delete it (if that was you, er, really sorry about that..) The first four attempts were sabotaged by WordPress’s dislike of my email address (so I set up another one), telling me the blog title was already taken (by me, but it wasn’t having any of it) and a bit of a problem with passwords.

In the end, it’s been the help of fellow writers that’s got me here (assuming you’re reading this on my blog and not someone else’s). Particularly patient were Amy Wilson (@AJ_Wils) who spent an entire evening helping me with only a bag of popcorn and a few bourbons to help her through the ordeal, SF Said (@whatSFSaid) who generously shared his experience and knowledge because he’s kind, and Russell Sanderson (@Sheddenizen) who keeps assuring me I can do things when I’m about to throw in the towel. Oh, and loads of other supportive twitter friends like Sarah Benwell (@SWritesBooks) and….hell, this is beginning to sound like the Oscars. Maybe should thank my agent and my family too? Nah, they were no help at all 🙂

‘Til next time. Thanks for listening.