What does a viral hit look like?

So... what does a viral hit look like?

On Thursday, I posted a little rant, "11 Ways You Can Stop Pissing Me Off On Twitter". I intended it to be shocking yet funny, a mixture of over-the-top explosion with a message.

Each of the 11 Ways not only described what the objectionable action was, but clearly stated why I thought they were bad, and also (and this is important) offered specific suggestions on alternative behaviors that would improve the Twitter experience.

Improve it in my eyes, that is, but I'm not that different than anyone else as an interlocutor.

I posted it Thursday afternoon and tweeted the link. I was amazed at the response. So pleased and amazed that I tweeted the link once again on Friday morning.

That's when things took a turn upwards.

The scale on that image is dramatically skewed by the hits from the last two days. I usually get ~30 hits a day, a level I'm reasonably pleased with. Yesterday was more like 800 hits. By noon, "11 Things" had surpassed the previous champ, "Ode To The Semicolon" in terms of page hits. By the end of the day, it had doubled that previous record.

I've done popular things before, but this is the first one that's escaped into the wild and led to this kind of a response. I don't know if there's a formal definition of "viral", but this hitcount is an order of magnitude over and above that for any other single post, besting a year's worth of hits in less than hours; from my perspective, that's pretty viral.


UPDATE, 8/29/10: I was assuming that this thing had run its course, but between yesterday and today, that rant got another ~500 hits, which would have topped the Ode all by itself. Assuming weekend traffic is lighter than weekday traffic, I can only wonder what this week will bring.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. I learned some things. :) I think you hit a nerve with people. Plus, you have a terrific voice for non-fiction.

  2. Thank you! I'm glad it was helpful.

  3. Well crap that whole post sounded like me.

    Really just the log on every once in a while and the long ass id/name part was about me, personally. No wait it's not too long just complicated with underscores and caps and not caps and...

    like I said, well crap

    I enjoyed the 11 things post and this follow up on the hits

    good night Gracie

  4. @Paige: Actually, I wasn't thinking about you or any one individual as I wrote "11 Things". I hope you understand that it would be a mistake for you to take any of it personally.

    After this post went around, I've had people tell me that I'm full of it and that I have no right to dictate how others behave on Twitter. That's absolutely right, of course. No one gets kicked off Twitter if I dislike something, and no one gets any ice cream if I'm happy, either (except perhaps for me).

    Take it for what it is, a rant by me. Don't make too much of it, since it wasn't aimed at you.

  5. Congratulations on the traffic, Tony. That post crossed a lot of traditional traffic generating vectors. The list, the odd number, the ranting, relevance to pop tech - it makes sense that it would spike.

    Oh, and you are not full of it. That's crazy talk.

  6. You Trololoed the Twitter community. Viral man. Real viral.

    Enjoy that 15 milisec of fame. Cause that shit was FUNNY.

  7. Wow. That's a lot of hits! I need you to give me pointers now, so I can get more blog traffic. *bats eyelashes*


    I can't believe it topped the semicolon post though... That's funny!

  8. Wow. I've never seen numbers like that. Very cool.


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