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….


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.


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