Remember When Going Viral Was a Bad Thing


Sometimes I miss the days when no one talked about going viral and no one cared if anyone read their blogs. Ok, I am not certain if there was a time when people didn’t care about having readers but I know that we didn’t talk about going viral.

We didn’t spend time debating whether it was ethical to buy Twitter followers, Facebook likes or wonder why some shmuck could get a book deal because they published photos of his cat fellating his dog.

Sometimes I look around shake my head because it feels like ever third post is about how to become an independent publisher and oh by the way please don’t forget to buy their book.


She is 9.5 going on 30 and she hates being treated like a baby. This little girl of mine, this daughter who curls up on my lap tells me that she worries about the future and then stares at me waiting for fatherly advice.

Some of her concerns make me laugh. She tells me stories about some of the girls in school and I marvel over how detailed she is. I can’t figure out why I need to know all these details but she is very serious so I don’t ask or interrupt.

I tell her that she doesn’t have to be tolerate being mistreated and that if her friends are obnoxious to tell them to cut it out and that if they don’t it might be time to find other friends.

She agrees but she doesn’t want to hurt their feelings and so she gives them second and third chances. I ask other parents and hear similar stories about daughters. The boys and I don’t completely understand but when we compare notes we see our girls are similar and so we chalk it up to gender differences.

I ask my girl if she thinks I should do her hair and she laughs and says that daddy doesn’t have enough hair to understand how to brush hers.

But since I asked she thinks it is time that I let her start doing mine and figures she ought to pick out my clothes because “dad has no sense of style.”


It is a few weeks past the Bar Mitzvah and he is feeling pretty good but he is worried about high school. I ask him why and he says his friends all think you have to start looking in 7th grade.

I tell him not to worry about it and he says he is worried about his grades preventing him from getting in. I tell him that his grades are unlikely to have an impact. He got a 3.5 in the Fall and that was with the additional responsibilities of Bar Mitzvah practice and soccer.

Besides I tell him he can fail every class and that they will still advance him. He is horrified by the thought and I assure him that I don’t want him to fail nor am I worried about it.

We don’t push him about his grades because he pushes himself and we have conversations about not getting into high school. It makes me wonder what his friends are saying and what kind of pressure we are putting on kids in general.

Homework Is Ridiculous

We have been dealing with hours of homework for a couple of years now and I can’t tell you how dumb I think this is. Can’t properly express how irritated I get because I see limited benefits from homework in general and wonder why we think it is smart to apply this kind of pressure.

I know for certain my kids don’t have as much down time as I did when I was their age and I feel badly. Hours of homework aren’t going to make them smarter or more productive.

Find myself shaking my head and asking why we don’t do more to work on critical reasoning and skills that help them think. Shake my head and wonder who thinks that the ability to regurgitate information is going to make them more successful.

But I Want To Go Viral

Sometimes I wonder if maybe I am being silly by not trying harder to play the game. Sometimes I think about how much money I have left on the table by not cultivating relationships with more bloggers and more brands.

Sometimes I think that I should never use any innuendo in the blog but that is just not me. I like being unfiltered. I like writing headlines that suggest if you give better head you will lose more weight and become a better writer.

Sometimes I like writing that bloggers have better sex because it warms my juvenile heart and because sometimes I can’t believe that after 3 hours of pre-Algebra I have to read another post about how some blogger wants to share information that will make me rich, provided I pay them for it.

Ain’t life peachy.

P.S. If you haven’t read these posts I invite you to give them a shot

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  1. that cynking feeling January 18, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    I think of viral posts like confections. They may be tasty in the moment, but they certainly aren’t filling. Then again, continuing the food metaphor, most of them look a lot better than they taste.

  2. Robin January 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I never considered that I would go viral (I mean my blog), but I would be lying if I didn’t say I would like more followers and readers. I don’t like if someone follows me only to promote their product, service or book. I like unfiltered writing, but I haven’t the courage to be completely unfiltered. You won’t find innuendo on my blog, and the worst of my language so far is: damn and sucks (as in “that sucks”).

    Girls are different than boys; no doubt. My mother’s advice was to ignore mean girl remarks. Your advice is much better. Speaking up is always better than letting obnoxious people get away with it.

    • Jack January 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Robin,

      I hate when people comment solely to promote their product or blog. It is obnoxious.

      It took some time for me to be unfiltered in my writing. I found it to be very freeing, it is worth trying.

  3. Michelle January 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I feel you! While I would love for my writing to be more “out there”, I also feel like if it doesn’t happen it’s because I just wasn’t good enough but then that could be the self deprecating part of me. I really don’t know how to play the blog game either but I like your work so I’m going to follow you no return follow required. ; )

    • Jack January 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Michelle,

      Writing is subjective. I am not convinced that the biggest bloggers are the best writers, sometimes they are the best marketers or lucky to have received some media attention and that has given them the boost they need.

  4. Karen January 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Jack, this post really spoke to me. I’m a fan of “no filter”, and I’m not very good at playing the game. In fact, I’m kind of a shitty blogger. Sure, I want people to read what I write, but I actually want them to *want* to read it. I have no interest in that “I’ll read yours, if you read mine” crap. I refer to those as “blog jobs”.

    P.S. I had no idea that people actually bought Twitter followers until I read your post. Is that really true?

    • Jack January 19, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Karen,

      Yes, you can buy followers and you you can buy fans. There are people who advertise these services in various places such as Craigslist and Fiverr.

      Some people might argue that the review and giveaway bloggers do this too.

  5. Natalie January 17, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Yes. This whole post, yes. That’s exactly how I feel about clawing my way to the top of the blogosphere.
    And homework is stupid.
    Great post.

  6. Kristin January 17, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    The fact is, going viral lasts less time than the actual Influenza virus. And then, if you’re desperate for outside validation enough, you keep chasing that waxen post that can be tweaked for the proper keywords and triggers.

    Don’t worry; be happy.

    Oh, and #KimKardashian.

  7. Stan Faryna January 14, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    We all want love. And the more love we get, the better – and strangely enough that includes likes, shares, comments, traffic, etc.

    Maybe we don’t need as much “love” as we crave.

    • Jack January 15, 2014 at 8:08 am

      It is an interesting question, how much love do we need? Different answers for different people, some of it probably comes back to understanding the difference between what we need and what we want.

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