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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Going Viral and "Loving" It!

This past week in “A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life” has been a rather weird one...but in a very good way. I'm going to explain why this has been the case in today's Thursday Diary entry.

August 22, 2013

You know, I've only been a fairly new member of the blogging community. I've only kept a blog going for two years plus a few months. There are some blogs that have been started after mine, but millions more that began before I even started off “A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life”.

And of course, the goal for any blogger (or published author, which is what I really hope to become one day) is to have one of their pieces make such an impact that people share it with their friends.

Have you ever heard of the phrase “going viral” before? It's when a picture, blog post, or video is shared with friends, who share it with their friends, who in turn post them on friends of friends' personal profiles, and before you know it, fifty thousand people have viewed it within a twenty-four hour time period. It's a phenomenon that almost every blogger wants. After all, there's no better way of knowing how successful you are than watching people read your stuff, right?

So, why am I talking about this today? Well, although one of my posts is nowhere near reaching fifty thousand people in a given day, I will state that this past week, one of my blog posts recently went viral!

What makes this situation even more bizarre is that it was the one blog post that I never expected to go viral in the first place! It was on a topic that I thought was so obscure that I didn't think that people would even remotely remember it, and yet, as of August 22, 2013, it is my most viewed entry, and the page views are still climbing on this particular subject! Just have a look at this chart that I took a screenshot of!

Now prior to August 15 (which was when the surge of activity began to skyrocket), I was averaging a total of 350 page views each day. It's a fairly good number, but I was secretly hoping for more. We reach August 15, and the page views increase to five times that amount! I actually did a double take, thinking that there was a mistake in the coding of the site, but the graph doesn't lie!

So, which blog topic caused this spike in activity recently? Surely it had to be something that was quite big. Was it a Monday Matinee? Was it a personal story? Were people so gripped by Diana Ross and the Supremes that they had to know more about them?

Well, as it turns out, it was a blog entry on a soap opera that was cancelled eighteen years ago! I know, right? It seems like the most random blog topic ever to go viral!

It wasn't even a recent blog entry! I wrote it all the way back in October 2012 as part of a special Halloween themed month. I cherry-picked spooky and scary topics to feature all that month, and I figured that doing a special feature on the soap opera “Loving” certainly fit.

If you want to read the post that went viral, you're more than welcome to click HERE, but the reason why I decided to do a blog on a long-forgotten soap opera was because it fit the Halloween theme. It was a show that certainly went out with a bang as the show's final storyline featured the police department trying to catch a serial killer who was killing off characters left and right. It was certainly a gripping storyline, and from what I have heard, the ratings for “Loving”'s final storyline were quite good.

The victims of the Corinth Serial Killer were all tied to the blue-blooded Alden family, and when the killer was unmasked as Gwyneth Alden - the matriarch of the family – it was revealed that she did it to take away the pain caused by Alden heiress Trisha Alden, who was kidnapped in an amnesiac state and developed a case of Stockholm Syndrome with her kidnapper and decided not to return to Corinth. This caused Gwyneth to lose her mind, kill six people (including her own son and husband), and when she was exposed, she committed suicide.

Thus ended the soap opera “Loving”, which became “The City”, which became cancelled in 1997.

Now, it was a decent topic to write a Halloween themed entry on (the killer was unmasked right around Halloween 1995, so it fit), and it certainly did get some people talking about it for a bit...but it was also a show that I felt that nobody would remember. After all, eighteen years has passed since the final episode aired. Who would have remembered it?

So imagine my surprise when the entry that I did on “Loving” started to increase in popularity right around the middle of August 2013 – a full ten months after I wrote the initial blog entry.

And I was very clueless as to why this was the case.

And so, my investigation began. And what I eventually discovered made a whole lot of sense!

In the control panel of my own blog (which none of you can really see except me), I have a lot of neat little features that I can use to check my blog post views, the nationality of all my followers (United States is #1 followed closely by Canada and the United Kingdom), and I can even check and see where most of my traffic sources are coming from.

Needless to say, I checked out where the traffic was coming from first.

Of course, most of the listings were fairly self explanatory. You can find my blog listings on Google, so that would automatically be number one. I post links to my blog on both Google+ and Facebook, so those listings would automatically show as well. I even get the odd link to Yahoo and Bing popping up under there.

But then I saw a link to somewhere that I had never heard of before. If you click on this link HERE, you can visit it. And it is here where the mystery begins to unfold.

As you can see by clicking on the blog link, it is a blog dedicated to another soap opera that is currently celebrating its fiftieth anniversary on ABC. As it so happens, “General Hospital” is the only soap opera still airing on ABC following “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” shifting their focus to an online audience. For those of you who watch “General Hospital”, you know that the show is all about doctors and nurses, and Luke and Laura.

Nice. But what does “General Hospital” have to do with “Loving”? I'm getting to that point.

I'll be the first one to admit that I never watched one episode of “General Hospital”. So I thought that I would take the opportunity to read through this person's blog on General Hospital to get caught up. After all, they were kind enough to link my blog to theirs, so I thought I'd share the blogger love and link their blog to mine! Consider it sharing amongst blogger buds! So, reading the blog on “General Hospital”, one key point should be highlighted.

Apparently there's a storyline going on featuring the characters of Holly Scorpio and Luke Spencer. They're involved in a mystery where they're trying to find out what happened to the missing and presumed dead Robin Scorpio, and their destination takes them to a small town in Pennsylvania called Corinth.

Hmmm...Corinth. Where have we heard that name before? It wouldn't be the setting for the soap opera “Loving”, would it? Why, yes! I believe it is!

The plot thickens.

Clue number two comes from this episode of “General Hospital”, which you can click on HERE if you want. Just focus on the scenes that feature Holly and Luke. They're the only ones that matter.

So we have some juicy information. Both Luke and Holly talk about Gwyneth Alden and how she snapped and killed off her entire family. The setting of where they are kind of looks like the mansion that the Alden family once called home two decades earlier. And to add to the fun of the storyline, there are pictures and family snapshots of the Alden family randomly scattered around the abandoned house. What this exactly has to do with advancing the plot on “General Hospital”, I'm not sure. Whatever the case, it's become clear that the writers of the soap certainly didn't insert this scene randomly. It will fit in somehow to future storylines, I'm certain of it.

But check out the date that this episode aired. August 15, 2013. And, what a coincidence. That's exactly the date in which the “Loving” blog post went viral! And, according to the “General Hospital” blog, the post in which their blog linked to mine was written on...drumroll please...August 15, 2013!

So now the answers have been made clear. The reason why my blog on “Loving” went viral was because another soap opera began to reference the soap opera into their own storyline. The storyline prompted other bloggers who write about “General Hospital” to find out everything they could about the “Loving Murders”, and as it so happens, they felt that they must have liked something about my blog enough to link to it.

It's been a week since the “Loving” blog post went viral, and I just noticed that I am now getting traffic from the Soap Central message boards as someone posted the link to the blog on that forum, which is fantastic as far as I am concerned. In fact, I actually owe everyone who has shared my blog a huge thank you! Up until now, I thought that doing a blog was kind of a personal thing...something that I thought was only to give myself the false satisfaction that if I even had a few people reading my stuff, it was okay. But now that I see so many people looking at and sharing my work with gives me a renewed hope that this career path that I want for myself as a writer could possibly happen.

And perhaps what is even more exciting is the fact that the people who have clicked on the “Loving” post are not only reading that post. I've noticed that a lot of my blog posts from October 2012 have gotten an insane amount of page views this past week...which tells me that the people who are reading the “Loving” blog are interested in other things that I have written. It's a wonderful feeling.

So that's the story of how one of my blog posts went viral. It could very well be the only one that ever does, and I may not have a situation like that happen ever again (unless the cast of the Young and the Restless does a Macarena party or something). But for now, I'm “loving” it!

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