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Going Viral

Friday, February 19, 2010
50 Social Media IconsImage by Ivan Walsh via Flickr
I've been writing for GeekDad for about 11 months now. They have always been able to count on me for writing regular posts that are of a good length, with the occasional one which is fairly interesting. But I'm not usually the one who writes the very popular or controversial posts.

Writing has gotten easier with practice, though. I have gotten a bit stuck in a rut of writing reviews. Between asking for a few cool things and my contacts continuing to send me more and more stuff (some of which I didn't ask for), my list of reviews to do is growing. I'm trying to knock them out before asking for new stuff, but it's hard when something comes across my desk that really excites me.

Once in a while, to break up the reviews, I'm moved to write a post that has nothing to do with a product. Sometimes the ideas just come to me and I sit down and write. Those posts are usually very fast to do. Other times they require a lot of research and end up more trouble than they are worth! Sometimes they are inspired by others, such as my recent 10 Ways to a Geeky Girl's Heart. Ed had the original idea for the post, as well as a couple of ideas for items for the list. My friend Alan completely inspired the treasure hunt item. I'd written most of the post a couple of months ago, but it just didn't sound right. So I let it sit, eventually realizing that it would be great timing to put it up for Valentine's Day. Somehow I thought that I'd just get it up for Valentine's Day itself, but it occurred to me, about 8 or 9 days ahead of time, that if people wanted to take my suggestions they might need time to prepare! So I got the post up a week ahead of the holiday, and it ran on Monday, February 8, when I was on my way to Disneyland with my kids and stepdad.

I had no idea if the post would go over well or not. Then, in the middle of Disneyland, I got a call from Ed who told me that it was doing VERY well. It was on the front page of Wired.com, it was the second most popular post on the whole site, etc etc. As the day went on, he kept filling me in on all the details, such as Mythbusters tweeting the link to their almost-million followers, and how it totally went viral. I was so excited! I was having fun at Disneyland, but also wished I could be at home, in front of my computer, enjoying and participating in the buzz from my post.

Marian Call even started following me on Twitter. And it went popular on Digg. It was on Slashdot. By the next week, it had gotten almost 150,000 page views! That's about 10% of GeekDad's entire monthly page views in a good month.

Fortunately, at the last minute before posting it, I'd thought to include a few Amazon Associate links for some things. Good thing I did. I made a bunch of money that day on referrals!

Because Wired.com had several Valentine's posts rolling around that week, they decided to put us all up again on the front page for the entire weekend of Valentine's Day. More page views!

This whole thing has been very exciting for me. Going viral like that... It's never happened to me before and it's a great feeling. The comments on the post are (for the most part) very supportive and good. I think I struck a chord with a lot of geeky women out there. I hope I can do it again in the future!
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