I’ve been on Twitter for a while.
Lately, my tweets consist of details from mundane school board meetings and links to the stories I’ve written. It’s a good day if they get any acknowledgement. But every now and then I’ll show that I’m human and tweet something personal or a funny anecdote, and I’ll rack up a few dozen likes and retweets.
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I’ve posted more than 10,000 tweets, but none of them came close to racking up 270,000 likes, 45,000 retweets, reposts on popular websites and catching the attention of major companies like this one did.
I recently came back to work for my hometown paper covering education, and my boyfriend and I are moving into an apartment in Kendall (it’s closer to Dadeland. Yes, I am self-conscious about it.)
On Friday, I remembered that he was at our new place. So I texted him, curious about the apartment’s natural light.
me: interested in how the sun shines in our new apartment
— Colleen Wright (@Colleen_Wright) June 29, 2018
My boyfriend didn’t get it. “The beer?” he replied.
He must’ve known what I was referring to, and it wasn’t the frat-boy-favorite beer brand. We spent the last few nights picking color swatches and watching HGTV. I doubled down, not being any clearer.
“IN THE APARTMENT LOL,” I sent back.
He was quick with the punchline. “Theres no beer in the apartment.”
I took a screenshot and my office podmates helped me workshop the tweet. (Thanks, Alex and Doug!) Everyone I showed the draft tweet to saw what I saw: Twitter gold.
It caught on among loyal followers and friends, including those who knew this was absolutely something my boyfriend would say. I didn’t think it would top 100 likes. I was wrong.
When we woke up to paint the apartment Saturday morning, the tweet was at 2,000 likes. It felt as if thousands of likes were pouring in by the hour. By the afternoon, that number soared to 21,000.
It’s hard to tell how it really took off, because going viral nearly breaks your app. If I refreshed every other second, dozens of new notifications, each one containing at least 15 new engagements, would pop up.
The tweet garnered 60,000 likes when I went to bed late Saturday. That number nearly doubled by the time I woke up Sunday. I bought a four-pack of Nattys to celebrate.
Friends told me the entertainment site theCHIVE retweeted it. Lots of high profile journalists did too. And then came an outpour of mentions, a petri dish in studying humanity.
Men, women, singles and couples and everyone in between saw themselves in our texts. Most people tagged someone they knew, usually their significant other (“If this isn’t….” and “OMG this is totally…”)
I got a lot of unsolicited dating advice. The crowd was split: Half said I had a keeper and that I should marry my boyfriend, the other half said that my boyfriend was stupid, that Natural Light was not beer, that I should dump him.
Eventually, Natural Light Beer slid into my Instagram direct messages and offered to send us some T-shirts. I had to politely decline to avoid any ethics violations (Can’t accept free stuff as a journalist, sadly). I had to turn down free beer from Founders Brewing in Michigan, too.
My Tweet was reposted on to Instagram by TheFunnyIntrovert, Elite Daily and a popular meme account with a name that would make your Abuela blush. Buzzfeed used it in a roundup of the funniest tweets in June. It was posted on Reddit threads r/WhitePeopleTweets and r/Facepalm.
My boyfriend and I, ever in shock and awe, wondered if my tweet would hit 250,000 likes. There were 255,000 by Monday morning.
Twitter fame is cool. But what’s even cooler is how many old friends connected with me offline. People I hadn’t talked to in years went out of their way to send me a screenshot of my tweet and cheer me on, an unconventional way to start a long overdue catch up session. So many friends blew up my phone with, “I know her!”
Coworkers stopped me to ask me about it. My sources at the school district I cover gushed about it. Even the lady at the front desk in my apartment building had seen it.
And thousands of total strangers replied to me to say that my tweet made them laugh. With how much vitriol and discord is on Twitter, we could all use an eyeroll and a chuckle.
I gained 500 followers since that tweet, and I really hope they’re fans of local education coverage. It would be exhausting to try to top this tweet, so in the meantime I’m on the lookout for good content to retweet to keep the masses happy.
And if all else fails, I could always turn to my man, the most unintentionally funny guy I know.