The Greatest Post To Never Go Viral

Painting by Chagall

“I won’t telephone him. I’ll never telephone him again as long as I live. He’ll rot in hell, before I’ll call him up. You don’t have to give me strength, God; I have it myself. If he wanted me, he could get me. He knows where I am. He knows I’m waiting here. He’s so sure of me, so sure. I wonder why they hate you, as soon as they are sure of you.” ― Dorothy Parker, The Portable Dorothy Parker

I don’t know if it would be fair for me to say What Is The Most Painful Thing You Have Experienced? is the greatest post to never go viral because I am not sure if it is the best I have ever written but I am proud of it.

That is a post that I look it and smile because there is a story, a flow and honesty in it. I can’t say that it is the only one I have written like that because there are many others but there are a bunch that are simply awful.

Sometimes I wonder what the secret is to creating my best work and I think about how I was feeling when I wrote them. Some of the pieces that I think are most powerful come from moments in my life in which I felt the rawest and most vulnerable.

Naturally I wonder if this means that the best way to write is to ask to have my heart broken in some manner or another. Or maybe if I slam my fingers in the car door I might tap into the pain and then channel it into the words you see on the screen.

Kind of Like The Hulk

It is kind of like The Hulk. When he is Bruce Banner he is just an ordinary man, but make him angry and he becomes something far more.  Can’t say I find the idea of slamming my fingers in the car door particularly endearing or useful, would be harder to type.

Sometimes I think about The Algonquin Round Table and wonder what that must have been like. I was probably about 13 when I first learned about it and it has stuck with me all these years but now I find myself more intrigued by the idea than ever.

What would it be like to be able to spend time with some great writers each day? Would those moments translate into more magic coming from our fingertips or would it be nothing more than just time spent with friends.

Sometimes I am really intrigued by the idea of writing a post that goes viral. Sometimes I think about different ways to make it happen.

If it happened I would want it to be because I wrote something powerful and clever that resonated with people but sometimes I think about whether I could game the system to make it happen.

During those moments I wonder if I have some sort of character defect because I wonder if I am compromising all of my integrity to try to gain my fifteen minutes of fame.

What Kind of Father/man Would I Be?

I think about it and wonder what sort of difference it would make if I paid for Facebook fans and Twitter followers to “build influence” for a good reason.

I think about it and wonder if it would give me the kind of boost that could change my life and in return have a positive impact upon my childrens’ lives. I think about the Machiavellian aspects and ask myself about my integrity and wonder about blurred lines.

I haven’t ever done it. I like to say it is because I don’t believe that paying for followers is ethical and because I want it to happen organically.

But I wonder what I would do if I was certain that spending a couple of bucks would work. Sometimes when I think about it I ask myself what I would do if I knew I could steal millions from the bank and not get caught. That would change my life too, but that would clearly make me a thief.

If stealing food was the only way to feed my kids I would do it but that is not what this is about. There is no way I can rationalize that taking money from a bank is right.

Doing It The Write Way

The net result of this musing is that I am going to keep trying to do it the write way. Going to keep on writing as I do and hope that along the way I find like minded people who enjoy what they see here.

I am confident that if I made this into a niche site I could build a bigger readership in a shorter amount of time but I like this format better.

I like the challenge of proving that you don’t need a niche site to be successful because you don’t.

And I think it is about time to look at the links on the About page to figure out if it is time to update it. Who knows, there might be 3 or 4 more of the greatest posts to never go viral just waiting to be shared.

But if you ask me, I think the best is yet to come and that is part of why I am still writing and why I tell my kids that we never reach a place where we can’t become better writers.

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  1. Stan Faryna February 2, 2014 at 6:23 am

    Mr. Jones and I by the Counting Crows is a great song.

    “We all want to be big big stars, but we got different reasons for that.”

    But, maybe, I digress.

    You’ve got game in you, Jack. Just like you can still dish it out on the court on occasion. And you have more than a pretty good idea of how the game is played.

    You don’t want to make the game your life because you have better sense than that. And two awesome kids that need your time and attention. But you want to play a good game when you come to the court. And I think you do.

  2. neal January 31, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    This is something I think about, too. I frequently wonder if I’m undercutting my artistic integrity by crafting things that a broad audience wants to see or read. I tell myself that there’s a concrete line beyond which I’m just too uncomfortable to go, but it’s very different to write literally not caring who reads, and to try to write your best but attract readers at the same time. Sounds like you’re on a good path. I second-guess myself from time to time, even though I grapple with the question and try to stay on the right side of it with every post.

    • Jack February 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      I don’t know anyone who truly loves writing that doesn’t ask questions like these. I am sure they exist, but I think part of being a writer is having that curiosity/insecurity/triumphant/what-the-hell am I doing kind of thing.

  3. Stan Faryna January 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    The only reason for you to game you’re number of followers would be to strengthen your bargaining position with a book agent or publisher. Myself, I have advised and assisted start ups in buying initial followings when pursuing investors and business partners. But I haven’t done it for me. Actually, I used to take great satisfaction and pride in eliminating bots, flack and dead weight from my follower counts. Silly me.

    • Jack February 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Stan,

      I often think about how many people don’t know any of the rules of this game and how they can spin their wheels trying to figure them out.

      And then sometimes I wonder if maybe I am the one who doesn’t have a clue.

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