You’ll never know when you go viral

Nicolas Cole wrote a thread today on how he’s gone viral a bunch of times, and still has no idea how to predict virality moving forward. This is a theme I’ve noticed that Ramit Sethi had written in an email I received in 2018, in which he shared that a post he spent a ton of time and research on didn’t get the outcome he expected, but a post he dashed off in an hour became one of the most popular ever. A screenshot of the email, which I really like but can’t find a permalink to:

Similarly, Mario Gabriele at The Generalist writes of his viral Red Bull thread, “It’s worth recognizing that going in, because if you try too hard to “game” one of these platforms, you can drive yourself crazy. Posting on Twitter and LinkedIn has proven a solid way to attract new subscribers, but it’s hard to know what will take off. I remember debating whether I should post my Red Bull thread for example — I wasn’t convinced anyone would want to read it. Conversely, there have been dozens of threads I’ve thought were interesting but were met with a shrug. I’ve learned to keep playing the game without letting it consume me.”

You won’t know what’s going to work, and what’s not. All you can do is make a plan, make friends with people and share your work with them, and get started on the next or on reworking.

Of course, this is only relevant if you plan to release your work, which you don’t have to. Either way, once you’re done a version of it, the creative process will move on.

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