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I accidentally went viral about one year ago. After seeing this memory pop up, I thought I would write a post about it. I had always wondered what “going viral” meant and how it affects someone. Little did I know I would ever go viral myself and live to tell the tale. So here it is – I accidentally went viral and this is what happened…
It all started when I became a mom. I had what I thought was an oversupply of breast milk. Turns out I had what is called hyper lactation syndrome – a condition that causes me to produce 3-4 times as much breast milk as the average mom.
When my second child was born in 2016, I looked into breast milk donation, as the first time I had more milk to freeze than I ever had room for. I donated to a milk bank during the time I was breastfeeding my daughter.
Fast forward to 2017 when my third child was born and I was dealing with the struggles of hyper lactation syndrome yet again. I knew I would be donating to the same milk bank again, this time more prepared for it than the last.
Approached by The Media
After about eight months into my breast milk donation journey with my third child, I was approached by a news agency on my blog All Natural & Good. I was absolutely stunned, as nothing on my blog at the time reflected anything about breastfeeding or donating my extra breast milk.
Not many people knew I donated breast milk, as only close friends and family knew about it.
All Natural & Good was (at the time) strictly a health and wellness blog. Since then, it has obviously evolved to writing about motherhood and about my journey breastfeeding and donating my extra breast milk.
I asked the journalist who interviewed me where she found me. She said on Instagram. Now, at the time, I created an Instagram account strictly for sharing my story about donating breast milk so that I could follow other moms who were in my breast milk donation Facebook group (moms who donated to the same milk bank).
After all, other breast milk donors were doing the same thing.
I also created this separate Instagram account because it seemed like certain people who followed my personal account were upset by these posts about donating my extra breast milk.
I decided to separate my personal profile so that I did not offend or hurt anyone’s feelings (as some moms are sensitive to this, especially if they themselves have struggled with milk supply).
At the time, I had only 70 followers. I wasn’t looking to become famous, it was just an outlet for me and it gave those who wanted to follow my journey an opportunity to do so.
Accidentally Going Viral
The morning after my phone interview, I woke up at 2:30am to do my usual first pump session of the day. I got online to find myself all over the internet. By the minute, article after article was popping up with my story about donating over 15,000 ounces of breast milk to others in need.
That is how much I had donated at the time. In total, I have donated 20,000 ounces since this story came out.
The following morning, I was approached by Good Morning America and the rest is history. Before you know it, I had quite a few interviews including this video interview that went viral. It has over 16 million views, a number I never thought I would ever see in my life.
What Happened When I Accidentally Went Viral
For the most part, going viral doesn’t do a whole lot in terms of the success of a blog or social media platforms (in my opinion). I felt like I already had an established online presence with my blog and that has pretty much stayed the time. I did grow my followers by a few hundred all around, but that is minimal compared to what I started with.
What it did do for me though is help spread awareness about milk sharing and breast milk donation, it has allowed me to write more about breastfeeding, pumping and breast milk donation. It has also allowed others to confide in me for advice and support in the breastfeeding community.
The Down Falls of Going Viral
There are definitely some down falls as a result of going viral. These include:
- Lack of privacy
- Being exposed
- Having your photos stolen
- Your story being falsely replicated
- Being misrepresented
- Creepers emailing and messaging you
- Scammers emailing you
- Media companies making money off you – with no compensation
- Fake go fund me pages
- Hateful comments
- People feeling entitled like you owe them something – People straight up told me “give me some of that milk!” or would ask me to send milk to them accross the country (without offering any financial support or compensation for shipping supplies – fyi sending a cooler of breast milk can cost hundreds of dollars!)
The Best Part of Going Viral
The amazing comments, loving messages and kind people are what make going viral totally worth it.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets about going viral. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I love sharing my story. I love helping others find connections to donor breast milk. I love sharing my advice about breastfeeding and pumping. I love that I have helped save lives and feed more babies than I will ever get to know or be able to count.
What I Learned
If there is anything I have learned about going viral it is to:
- Really understand any contract you sign with any media company
- Watermark your photos if you can
- Ask for compensation where compensation is due
- Not read the comments on viral posts if you can’t handle the hate
- Realize kindness still exists
- Realize hate still exists
- Understand that selfless actions like breast milk donation is amazing (do it if you can)
- Know that real friends and family will have your back
- Know that creepers do exist
- Believe scammers prey on kind and generous people like myself (don’t fall for it)
- Know you never know what it might lead to
Overall, I had no idea my story was going to go viral. If I had, I would have been more prepared for what was to come. I love sharing my story and will always be proud of what I have accomplished.
I thought I would share all of this with you because I am real and always will be.
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