Last Thursday I was sitting my car about to go out for a girls night when I realized I hadn’t posted anything to Instagram. I scrolled through my library, selected a photo and shared a little piece of my heart. One thing you need to know about me is that I’m a fast writer… I don’t overthink things, especially captions and so I shared a story of how someone had slid into my DM’s asking me how I had managed to land a guy as good looking as Drew. I told the story, shared a bit of our journey, hit publish and put my phone in my purse.
About an hour later, I clicked on Instagram and the post had gained a lot of traction. I didn’t think much of it (because let’s be honest, I was eating a delicious burger and catching up with my friends) but by the time I had gotten home that night, it was my “most liked” post ever. The next day, an email landed in my inbox from a writer with Yahoo who had seen the post and wanted to write a story. She said they were going to write about it regardless so if I got back to her but if I wanted to share more, I was welcomed to. I quickly responded to a few of her questions and hit “send.”
After that article got posted, it started getting a LOT of comments (mostly mean ones, like awful ones) but soon it was on the front page of Yahoo. Once that happened, all the other news outlets started picking up the story from Fox News to People Magazine, The New York Post to UNILAD, and our inbox filled with inquiries about this “story.” All of a sudden it was a media storm and we prayed we could remember a few tips from our time in public relation classes in college…
Good things that have happened since going viral:
1.) We’ve gained thousands upon thousands of encouraging followers. At first, I was leery of our growing numbers but the people who are following us because of the story seem incredibly supportive and encouraging. I was worried that these followers may be temporary or nasty, but they truly are engaged and seem to be attracted to our page because of it’s authenticity and vulnerability. Only time will tell how the followers trend will play out, but so far I have been surrounded by positive comments and uplifting words… And let me tell you, It’s INSANE to refresh your feed and see thousands of new followers.
- Over the last 7 days, 65,108 visitors, 58,320 of which were new
- Instagram, People.com, MSN.com and Perez Hilton biggest referral sources
- Up 147k Instagram followers in the last 7 days.
- The post has 85k likes and 8k comments.
- Drew has tripled his following
2.) We’ve gotten to share our message with the world, a message of positivity. From loving yourself more to finding your worthiness to the simplicity of just a darn good, normal marriage. We’ve been putting out messages like this for a long time, so we’re happy people can follow and feel inspired. It feels so good to be recognized for something so truthful, authentic, and “on brand”. We truly are two normal people getting press.
3.) We’ve come together even more as a couple as we’ve had to face this media craziness and really ground ourselves on the things we know to be true: we love each other, we are the perfect match, and life doesn’t change just because of all of this attention.
Bad things that have happened since going viral:
1.) No one tells you how to navigate this… there is no rulebook. We don’t have a PR rep or a press team, so we are fielding everything on our own and trying to decipher where the best use of our time is. It’s been entirely consuming to figure out how to get this message out in a way that is true to our story. Our story has been twisted and turned to make the media feel like they have an exclusive angle and so it’s been hard seeing the original post skewed as it continues to go viral.
2.) Trolls, lots of them. It’s hilarious that this whole subject is about someone’s opinion on my our body types and yet the comment sections flood with more comments, everyone trying to have their opinion heard. Some of the things I have read about myself and our marriage are vile and awful. It’s hard to read these over again, but it’s the reality behind this press. People forget that there is a real person behind these articles, and yet, here I was, reading these comments:
A (VERY BRIEF) SAMPLING OF BAD COMMENTS:
- “AKA he’s with her for her money”
- “She probably doesn’t say “no” to anything he requests in bed”
- “Some guys like insecure fat chicks”
- “A “curvy” girl? LOL. Don’t make it sound sexy and sweet. Fat is fat. Tell it like it is.”
- “He’s a closet gay and you are his cover story.”
- “Wait until she finds out he has been doing someone else all along as well.That story soon to come.”
I’ll be honest, reading these comments hurt. It didn’t feel real, but at the same time, each word stung. At first, I read them all and they began to hit me at once… My sister called me and I told her I had decided to stop reading them for good. There were so many thoughts going on in my mind. I was embarrassed, I worried about my parents seeing these words… But I knew THIS was why I share body positivity, to begin with. Change needs to happen because people still make comments that vile based off only external appearance… but, along with that, there were comments that reminded me that my message was not falling on deaf ears.
There were a few thousand negative comments, but that HUNDREDS of thousands of people had commented positively, visited my site, or followed me… Which means that on some level my words reached them and resonated… I will never forget some of those negative words said, but putting it into the perspective of good outcomes versus bad, helps navigate the craziness.
3.) It happened on one of the worst weeks ever but it’s not like you can choose when you go viral. We’re packing to move into a new home, selling our current home, trying to get things ready and stay on top of regular work on top of all of this. It’s just been a bit chaotic but hey, we’re managing (I need coffee!)
All In All…
There you have it, the true story of how we (accidentally) created viral content, grew our following, and got national press… Simply by being who we are. Having our marriage- and bodies- has been on the national (and international!) stage was an experience I’ll never forget…
Sound like a great gig? It was…. and wasn’t. But if I had to go through this again, I would. There were wins, there were losses, but the final outcome was my favorite part: sharing our message of body positivity with the world!