June 3, 2024

Going Viral: 10 Tips for Navigating this Experience.

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Going viral is a phrase often associated with overnight success, fame, and fortune.

For many, it conjures images of influencers, celebrities, and content creators skyrocketing to internet stardom. However, the reality of going viral can be far more complex and, at times, overwhelming.

In this article, we share our journey as The Middle Ages, a comedic hip-hop duo consisting of a middle-aged married couple, and how one of our Instagram reels unexpectedly went viral, garnering 400,000 views and 15,000 shares.

Despite the initial excitement, we faced a wave of negativity and hate in the comments. We navigated this challenging experience by responding with kindness, differentiating between constructive feedback and hate, and learning not to take everything personally. We also want to provide valuable advice for others who might find themselves in a similar situation.

Our Story: The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages is not just a band; it’s a personal journey and a passion project for us. We are a middle-aged married couple who decided to blend comedy with hip-hop, creating a unique and entertaining act. For me, stepping into this role was a significant leap. I had a background as a professional dancer and cheerleader, but using my voice in a performance setting was entirely new. This fear stemmed from a traumatic experience in high school when someone screamed at me and told me to lip sync. The memory of that incident haunted me, making me reluctant to use my voice.

On the other hand, my husband had never performed music in front of an audience due to crippling stage fright. This project was a big deal for both of us personally. Despite our fears, we poured our hearts into The Middle Ages, performing at various shows and festivals. To our surprise and delight, audiences laughed and enjoyed our performances, often telling us how we inspired them to pursue their own dreams despite their fears and how old they were.

The Viral Reel: A Mixed Blessing

One day, we posted a reel on Instagram, a short clip showcasing our comedic hip-hop performance. To our astonishment, the reel quickly gained traction, reaching 400,000 views and 15,000 shares. At first, we were thrilled. It felt like our hard work and passion were finally being recognized on a larger scale. However, as the views and shares increased, so did the comments.

To our dismay, the majority of the thousands of comments were filled with hate. People told us to quit, said it was the worst thing they had ever heard, and even told us to kill ourselves. The flood of negativity was overwhelming and disheartening. We had to make a conscious decision on how to respond to this situation.

Responding with Kindness

We decided to respond with kindness and a little sass. Instead of lashing out or engaging in negative back-and-forths, we thanked people for their feedback, even the harshest critics. We tried to understand where the criticism was coming from and addressed it with grace and humility. This approach helped us maintain our integrity and showed others that we were not going to be brought down by hate.

Responding with kindness also helped us focus on the positive comments and messages of support. Many people reached out to tell us how much they enjoy our band and how we inspired them. These messages reminded us why we started The Middle Ages in the first place and reinforced our commitment to our passion.

Deciphering Constructive Feedback versus Hate

One of the biggest challenges we faced was deciphering the difference between constructive feedback and straight-up hate. Constructive feedback is meant to help you improve and grow, even if it’s not always easy to hear. Hate, on the other hand, is often baseless, hurtful, and meant to tear you down.

To distinguish between the two, we asked ourselves a few key questions:

>> Is the comment offering specific suggestions for improvement?

>> Is the tone of the comment respectful, even if critical?

>> Can we learn something valuable from the feedback?

If the answer was yes to these questions, we considered the feedback constructive and worth considering. If not, we dismissed it as hate and focused on the positive and constructive comments instead.

Not Taking Everything Personally

Another important lesson we learned was not to take everything personally. The internet can be a harsh place, and people often say things online that they would never say in person. It’s important to remember that negative comments often say more about the person making them than they do about you.

We reminded ourselves that we were doing something we loved and that not everyone would understand or appreciate it. We focused on the joy and fulfillment we got from performing and creating music together rather than the opinions of strangers on the internet.

The Importance of Passion

Our passion for The Middle Ages kept us going during this challenging time. Despite the negativity, we knew we were doing something that mattered to us and that had the potential to inspire others. We had played numerous shows and festivals, and the positive feedback from our live audiences reminded us of the impact we were making.

What to Do When You Go Viral: a Guide

Going viral can be an exhilarating yet overwhelming experience. Here are some steps and tips for navigating this uncharted territory based on our experience.

1. Stay Grounded

Going viral can make you feel like you’re on top of the world, but it’s important to stay grounded. Remember why you started creating content in the first place and stay true to your values and goals.

2. Respond with Kindness

No matter how negative the comments may be, responding with kindness can help you maintain your integrity and set a positive example. It can also help defuse some of the negativity and show others that you won’t be brought down by hate.

3. Focus on the Positive

Amidst the hate, there will be positive comments and messages of support. Focus on these and let them remind you why you started creating content. Engage with your supporters and show them that you appreciate their encouragement.

4. Distinguish Between Constructive Feedback and Hate

Not all criticism is bad. Learn to distinguish between constructive feedback and hate. Constructive feedback can help you improve and grow, while hate should be ignored. Use the key questions mentioned earlier to help you identify which is which.

5. Don’t Take Everything Personally

Negative comments can be hurtful, but it’s important not to take them personally. Remember that people often say things online that they would never say in person. Focus on the joy and fulfillment you get from creating content rather than the opinions of strangers.

6. Lean on Your Support System

Having a support system in place can make a big difference when dealing with the challenges of going viral. Lean on your friends, family, and fellow creators for support and encouragement.

7. Take Breaks if Needed

It’s okay to take breaks if the negativity becomes too overwhelming. Stepping away from social media and taking time for self-care can help you recharge and regain perspective.

8. Learn and Grow

Going viral can be a learning experience. Take the opportunity to learn from the feedback you receive, both positive and negative. Use it to improve and grow as a creator.

9. Stay Passionate

Your passion is what drives you and keeps you going. Stay focused on what you love and why you started creating content in the first place. Let your passion be your guiding light.

10. Inspire Others

Remember that your journey can inspire others. Share your experiences, both the highs and the lows, to help others navigate their own paths. Your story can motivate others to pursue their dreams and face their fears.

Going viral is a roller-coaster ride of emotions, filled with both highs and lows. For us, The Middle Ages, it was an experience that tested our resilience and commitment to our passion. Despite the wave of negativity, we chose to respond with kindness, distinguish between constructive feedback and hate, and not take everything personally. Our passion for creating comedic hip-hop and inspiring others kept us going.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, remember to stay grounded, focus on the positive, and lean on your support system. Use the experience as an opportunity to learn and grow, and let your passion guide you. Most importantly, remember that your journey can inspire others to pursue their dreams and face their fears.

Going viral can be daunting, but with the right mindset and approach, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience.


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