Going Viral Almost Ruined My Life
A story about accidentally going viral and how I avoided a disaster.
I first created a YouTube account 11 years ago. I started the channel because I wanted to share videos of my newly born son with family who lived out of state.
I was 23 when I had my son. I was in college and I still had a pretty selfish world view.
In addition to videos of my son trying whipped cream for the first time, taking his first steps and his first birthday party. I uploaded random video clips from my life. I would read poetry I had written, open mics, and occasionally a silly dancing video.
My grandparents came down to visit me. My grandfather is pretty tolerant and open minded at this point of his life. He however is not a fan of any “weird” behavior being documented. So when I tried to kiss him, on video, to send it back to my family, he was not pleased.
The video of my grandfather smacking me in my head while I tried to kiss him got hundreds of thousands of views.
After I uploaded the video onto YouTube I moved back to my home state. I was near my family and I decided I didn’t have a use for social media or YouTube any longer. It was not until years later that I realized I had created a viral hit.
When I started creating digital content again I reopened my YouTube account. I was surprised to say the least when I saw how many views the video had gotten.
I was also surprised to see that someone had called one of my grandparent’s, “a cold fish.”
At first I was upset with myself for missing such a golden opportunity. I could have bypassed years of bad standup, years at stressful restaurants jobs, several failed attempts at various sales jobs, and I could have been selling merch and raking in that sponsorship cash.
Hindsight is 20/20 and I know exactly what would have happened. I would have continued making pranks videos, I would have just continued allowing my ego to go unchecked, and I would be having a different kind of existential crisis in my mid 30’s.
One of the best pieces of business advice I have ever heard came from Tim Ferris. He says to beware of the machine you are building. If you build it for the wrong reasons, you could actually be building yourself a prison cell.
If you are interested in hearing about who I am trying to make content for now I will attach a link to my YouTube channel.