Almost every blogger on the internet would secretly (or not so secretly) like their writing to go viral at least once.
Let’s be honest, it feels good to know that words you have sweated over, photos you have spent long hours editing, or your intense personal stories are being read, enjoyed, and are making a difference. This is especially true if you are a follower of Jesus and are hoping that your work will bring glory to God.
A few years ago I spoke on a panel at a blogging conference. Our panel was tasked with the responsibility of sharing what it was like to go viral, and how to respond if it does.
Interestingly enough, a couple people on my panel said that if they could do it all over again, they weren’t sure that they would want it to go through the experience.
I can understand why they had this reaction.
My blog has gone viral twice now.
From The Huffington Post, to trending #1 on Buzzfeed, to the front page of Yahoo, it wasn’t all good times and positive attention. So how should you respond once your writing receives a little media attention or starts getting shared across social media? Here are five quick tips to remember.
Accept it and move on.
You can be serious, or you can be silly, it doesn’t matter. Once your posts start being widely shared, all bets are off. People will make it their mission to try and discredit you, argue that you are wrong, and spout extremely hateful things.
Here is the truth. If you publicly post your work, you better have thick skin. You made the choice to share, and hateful internet trolls come with that decision. Take the criticism with a grain of salt and in all your responses represent Christ.
Part of going viral is having large channels pick up your story or share your post. If your blog gets shared on a large social media site, never read the comments.
There is absolutely nothing good that will come of it. Even if many are positive you will wreck yourself by dwelling on the negative ones.
If you absolutely need to know what is being said, have a wise friend read the comments first and tell you the basics of them. By the way, that person should never be your spouse because they will take hateful comments way more personally than you will. Protect them from that.
The first time my blog went viral, I was so overwhelmed that I felt like curling up in a corner and shutting out the world for a week. I was constantly being bombarded with questions and requests.
Thankfully I sought help from a friend and he put me in touch with two people who had been through this experience before. Based on my situation, they gave me excellent advice.
If you can’t find anyone who can relate, contact me and I will help in any way possible.
It is the media’s job to meet their deadline, not yours. They will want answers right away, but you always have the freedom to take your time to respond.
You are never required to answer any questions that you are uncomfortable with, or that you don’t feel will represent Christ well.
It is always okay to say no.
Maybe this should have been number one, but I put it last so that you would remember it over everything else.
Be constantly praying that this experience will point people to God and not to you. Pray that He will be glorified and others will come to know Jesus because of it. Pray that God will give you discernment to know what offers or interviews to accept, and which ones to decline. Pray for His protection on your family because sometimes they are the ones who are most affected.
Lastly, pray for your own heart that you will always remember that everything that is happening is from God, and not because of anything that you accomplished on your own.
If you do go viral, I hope that you can enjoy it as much as possible and that God uses it to bless your ministry and to further His Kingdom.
Remember that the experience won’t last forever and tomorrow a cat video will replace you.
That is okay, keep writing and keep enjoying what you do!
Beau Coffron is a dad who was inspired to create special lunches every Monday for his kids, while they are in school. From this project his blog, Lunchbox Dad, was born. The blog went viral and expanded to national appearances on T.V. shows such as Good Morning America and The Steve Harvey Show. Beau has been prominently featured in People Magazine and on websites such as Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Bored Panda, Yahoo, E! Online, and Babble. In his full-time life Beau is a social media director in Edmond, Oklahoma.