Who knew a simple selfie with some of your friends could take down the whole Twitter site?! Okay, sure… we aren’t all on Ellen’s level of popularity, but still it isn’t an easy feat to “break” Twitter with one picture.
By now we’ve all heard the story of, and most likely seen, the infamous selfie Ellen took at the Oscars with stars including Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, and Meryl Streep. The picture was retweeted more than 2 million times during the broadcast of the 86th annual Academy Awards and lead to the “break down” of Twitter. Aka – the service was down for a few minutes after the selfie was posted.
“We got an email from Twitter and we crashed and broke Twitter. We have made history,” DeGeneres said shortly after access to the social media site was disrupted.
So, why did this post even go so viral that Twitter couldn’t handle it’s inital response? Hashtags and a large following (for each of these stars) doesn’t hurt. Ellen attached the #Oscar hashtag, which I’m sure many people watching the award show were also following and including in their tweets, and each of these stars, if on Twitter, have large followings (Ellen over 28 million and Kevin Spacey over 3 million). Even if some of these stars aren’t on Twitter (shocking, right?) there are still many pages dedicated to their likeness and people are talking about them. So, with that said, and America’s fascination with movie stars, people were excited to see so many of their favorites in one spontaneous picture, together and the retweeting frenzy began. Retweet after retweet after retweet ensures many, many, many people see this picture in a short, quick amount of time, causing the tweet to go viral.
If you aren’t sure of what it really means to ‘go viral,’ that’s okay. Many people get the term confused. Simply put, it is something that is views by a very high number of people in just a short period of time. It has spread throughout the Internet and people are talking about and sharing it. A lot. This can mean a lot of exposure and traffic, without costing you any extra effort. And we all know that increased exposure can mean more connections and influence over your audience. There is no specific formula to make something go viral and there is no set number of people that need to view it in that certain amount of time; the number of views needed to go viral can vary from thousands to millions.
Now, I know the chance of “breaking” Twitter is unlikely but you can see from the reaction to Ellen’s tweet, how building a great following can help boost and get YOUR interesting and informative tweets out there to an even wider, larger audience.