Two days ago a rather old article of mine (one I first posted in April last year and didn’t seem to generate much interest at the time) went viral. I’ve had articles go somewhat viral before (getting a lot of Facebook shares usually), but this one got me so many views–3,822 on 2/9 and a whopping 4,438 on 2/10–that it was a little unsettling. Keep in mind my typical views for one day are about a third of that number or less.
It was heady seeing my viewers graph keep rising, and my Facebook Share ticker keep getting higher. How long was this going to go on? Would it keep going indefinitely, into the tens of thousands? Maybe into the millions? I’m not a blogger who blogs to be the “best” or the “most popular” and I don’t care much about Google and Alexa rankings, but I’m human and as a human, I like to be recognized and noticed–and this post I’d forgotten about was certainly getting noticed. I admit it felt good. I’ve always felt unnoticed and ignored, and this made me feel like I’d made some kind of impact in the world. I’ve been an underachiever all my life and this felt like a kind of achievement.
An outbreak of a communicable disease eventually fizzles out and the virus returns to dormancy. If it just kept going, we’d all be dead. Posts that go viral also reach a maximum threshold, after which their wildfire-like spread slows down and then stops. I can’t explain how and why this works; it must be some kind of self-limiting mechanism. Things that go up almost always come down.
So now I’m back on earth. After those two days, my stats took a plunge. Actually, they’re back to normal. Maybe I have a few new readers now. The return to normalcy feels like a loss, but what have I really lost? Two days ago, before this happened, I didn’t feel like I’d lost anything. When something like this happens, it’s nice, but it’s unexpected and not even something you worked for. I just got lucky.
That’s one of the things I love most about blogging. The surprises. You just never know when something you wrote months ago might suddenly take off.