In which it’s official

… my stupid viral TikTok video that I shot a few weeks ago is now My Most Viral Thing Ever. The ZIP Code tweet has been viewed 6.2 million times and has been interacted with about a hundred and fifteen thousand times. The video is now up to 6.4 million views, with 276,000 Likes, 1600 comments (most of which are annoying) and 860 shares.

I have 11,000 followers on Twitter and 3300 on TikTok. It’s been fascinating to see just how much more interaction I get over there than I do on Twitter, despite the substantial difference in follower numbers. Also, entertainingly, I now have more followers than any of my students.

In which I complain about my good fortune

I am, technically, monitoring my classes while I’m typing this right now; it’s just that today’s assignment fell apart due to an utterly inexplicable block on a web service that was kiiinda essential to my kids being able to do what I wanted them to do today. Were I in a regular classroom I could photocopy a worksheet or some shit, or quickly rework, but when I don’t quite realize how widespread the problem is until half of my kids have already checked in and back out for the day there’s not much I can do to get them back.

So! Turns out this is going to be an easier day than I expected, if a somewhat more frustrating one, and the hidden good news is that I was testing something that I need for tomorrow and it’s very very good that I figured this out early! This is actually exactly why we test things. Today is shot, but they’re actually expecting us to administer standardized tests remotely this week, so tomorrow will be much more functional now that I know how This Thing is going to work. So … yay?

I talked about this a bit earlier this week, but I may as well talk about it some more, since it’s still going on: my viral TikTok video is now up to 2.1 million views, 124,800 Likes and 753 comments, and I am officially in the stage of Having Created a Viral Thing where I am completely fuckin’ over it. On Twitter you can simply mute a post or a thread when this happens, but you can’t do that on TikTok. My stupid, stupid rat brain keeps going back and checking the post like my phone is a Skinner box, and also much like a Skinner box the number of times I have to hit reload for the dopamine hit is getting higher and higher.

Plus, Jesus, the video is literally two sentences long and there are three sentences of text on the screen, and the number of people who think they’re being clever in comments who clearly didn’t manage to read like twelve words is beginning to aggravate. There’s also a weird subgroup of people who are coming in and insisting that the word פיצה, which is an English cognate because it’s an Italian word to begin with, doesn’t mean “pizza.”

Which … yeah, it does, and why are you like this? I literally looked up a couple of Israeli pizza joint’s websites and posted them in response to one of these comments yesterday. Go argue with them, dude.

I’ve also picked up about 600 new followers, and the number of straight-up children who have access to that app is kind of shocking. I’m going to start blocking anyone who appears to be nine years old and follows me, because … just … nah.

(And I recognize that I’m kind of being a dick by talking about the video and not linking to it, but remember, the account is under my actual name. If you want to see it, email me or something and if you’ve been around long enough that I recognize your name I’ll send you the link.)

In other news…

Right now the only social media account that I have under my actual name is one of my two TikTok accounts. I have one for Luther, but I haven’t posted any videos. I am, however, posting videos under my teacher account, which until about 22 hours ago had about 40 followers. The account was giving me a mild reason to celebrate, though, because I’d just had my first video that scored over 2000 views before fizzling out.

And then I found a video of an Asian woman (her race is relevant) getting a tattoo and noticed that one of her tattoos, oddly, was the word “pizza,” spelled phonetically in Hebrew. (It may be a cognate; I’m not sure.) As the account posting the video was all in (I think) Chinese, and pizza is, as far as I know, not a hugely common food in Southeast Asia, nor are Jews, I made the not-foolproof-but-still-defensible-I-think suggestion that maybe people shouldn’t be tattooed in languages they can’t read and posted a short video saying such.

It’s now at 1.1 million views and counting, with over 60,000 Likes, and I’ve gained over 300 followers since it went up. There is also what appears to be a lively argument in Hebrew and Arabic going on in comments, and I have no idea what the hell they’re talking about, although Palestine may be involved.

I now have a viral Tweet under my belt with over six million views, a viral TikTok, and a couple of viral blog posts, although the biggest viral blog post only had a comparatively-paltry 110,000 views. I think it is fair to suggest that I may be the king of all social media. Now I just need to find a way for it to make me some money. 🙂

Blogwanking: I Get Email edition


This showed up in my mailbox the other day:

Yes, HOW did you get your site to appear so high in google? How many years have you been building your blog and social media? Do you have any suggestions to increase traffic? 

I have read and studied all the stuff, but didn’t know if you had any useful thoughts or insights since you have more experience.

This is interestingly timed, because while I’m currently in the midst of a post starting to go viral, 2016 has so far not been great for blog traffic for me, and book sales have been abysmal.  Most months this year have been around 5500 pageviews, and an average day therefore somewhere in the 180 range.  Compared to last year, even before I wrote the Syria post, that’s low.

The post about consent from Tuesday amassed 1900 views in its first 24 hours of existence, and as of right now, about 47 hours after writing it, it has 3251 pageviews and over a thousand shares on Facebook.  So probably 60% of a typical month’s traffic, for this year anyway, in less than two days.  It is, right now, actually growing slightly faster than the Syria post did.  We’ll see if it shows the weird sine-wave behavior that that post exhibited, but for now it’s doing great and today is showing signs of being better than yesterday.

In the life of the blog, which I started in June of 2013, I’ve had one post go Freshly Pressed (which didn’t generate a lot of traffic outside of WordPress) and three that I can safely say have gone viral– the two I’ve already mentioned and the Snowpiercer post.  Bewilderingly, the Snowpiercer post still is consistently in the top five posts every single day despite the fact that no one has watched that damn movie in months.  It is still the top Google result for the words “Snowpiercer terrible.”  It will probably hold that distinction forever.

How did you do it, you ask?

Hell, I dunno.

(Ducks, runs away)

Actually, no, that’s not quite true.  While, again, the blog hasn’t been as successful so far this year, I know exactly why that’s been the case: because I’ve been boring.  I am committed to posting every day around here, and I haven’t missed a day since December of 2014.  Now, that has advantages: regular posting is critical to gaining and keeping an audience.  But I’ve spent most of the past eight months sick, depressed, and unemployed, which has not made for astonishingly entertaining prose.  It’s hard to have interesting things to write about when you don’t go to very many places and you don’t interact with people.  And while previous blogs of mine have been very current-event/news focused, I’m currently happy with the amount of political content on the blog and, while it will ramp up a bit more as the election draws closer, I’m not looking to turn this into a current events blog.  I could probably drive traffic up if I did, but that’s not what I want this place to be right now.  I did that blog for five years during the Bush administration; it’s out of my system.

So here are some concrete suggestions for how to keep a blog running and generate traffic, with the obvious caveat that there are a lot of people who are a lot more successful than I am at it out there:

  • Write consistently.  This doesn’t mean daily!  But if you’re gonna post twice a week, post twice a week, and try to keep them on the same days.  You don’t want a situation where people pop over looking for fresh content and can’t find anything.
  • Be entertaining and write well.  I like to think I’m at least usually good at these things, but they’re essential one way or another.  You can make a blog about whatever subject you want interesting so long as you write about it well.
  • Read and comment on other blogs, or at least spread some Likes around on WP blogs if that’s what you have.  People tend to follow you back when you do that, and it’s a good way to get the next thing to happen:
  • Try and build yourself a community (or join one) with other bloggers.  Facebook is good for this.  So is Twitter, which is like 70% writers.  I had a hunch the consent post was going to blow up; one of the first things I did was post it on a couple of FB groups I’m in and ask folks for a signal boost.  This needs to be done sparingly, because it can annoy people, but if the piece is good and you’re not constantly asking, it can get good results.
  • As far as making specific posts blow up?  Keep writing and eventually you’ll get lucky.  That’s really all I can say, unfortunately.  Viral posts are frequently a result of luck, good timing, good writing, and luck.  Your first one will probably surprise you.  I had no idea the Snowpiercer post was going to be as successful as it has been– frankly, it still amazes me.  My Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews posts do better than they have any reason to.  Other times you’ll get an inkling beforehand, like with the Syria post and the consent post.  Sometimes you think something ought to blow up and it doesn’t.  Keep writing.  Something will pop sooner or later.
  • Did I say keep writing?
  • Because keep writing.

Any other suggestions, guys?