What I learnt from writing an anonymous message on whatsapp that went viral?

[Not a short story]

First of all, I broke my writing rhythm.  I have not written anything for two weeks except a single piece (which forms the crux of this post).

I got extremely busy at office.  Plus to add to that this entire thing that made the whole nation crazy is keeping my mind occupied.  Yeah, you guessed it right.  I am talking about demonetization.

Like every person who heard the news, I was surprised by the gutsy move by our Prime Minister.  But when I watched the news channels, almost all news channels except one bashed the move as it was affecting the common man.  I had strong feelings and opinions to share about the topic, so I wanted to write something about it.

I had to wait till next day for writing the message.  But I thought, how would I propagate the message to a larger audience.  I wanted to know a few things here.  Whether people will accept what I am about to write.  And who will share my message to the larger public.

So I used a different medium other than my blog.  Yes, it was Whatsapp.

But I saw two problems.  

  1. I am not a well known writer.  So I was not sure if people would read it and the message would reach a good number of people.
  2. And my immediate friends and relatives would be the ones who would be reading the message, first.  So, if I had my name in the message, would it stop them to share it further.  Because they might feel that they are promoting content of one of their own friend/relative.

To solve these, I thought of sharing the message as if I received a forward message on whatsapp.

So I wrote the message and forwarded it without quoting any source or author.  I forwarded it to a few groups in which I am active.  There were a dozen other groups in which I am not very active so I refrained from forwarding to those groups.  People appreciated the message but they weren’t aware that I wrote it.  And I was happy that I had spread the message that I wanted to convey to at least a few people.

What happened next?

Same day

After a while, I was pleasantly surprised that some person had forwarded the message to another group (in which I was inactive).

After two days

I was pleasantly surprised that I received my own message forwarded to me in a group (which had no common contacts).  I felt satisfied.  Because the message has gone from me to some X, then to some Y, then to some Z and finally reached me, thereby closing the loop. 🙂

After four days

By now, I was actually feeling proud of myself and satisfied that my message was able to reach so many people.  But I had no way to measure the impact.  So I decided to search in the internet with the title that I had put for the message.

Once again, I was surprised to see that a couple of websites had picked that up and quoted the source as Unknown. 🙂 I was quite proud of the fact that, the unknown was none other than myself.  I also saw a youtube video being made with my content.  Boy, was I elated.

Then, my curiosity didn’t end there.  I searched for the title in facebook.

Boy, I was shocked to see the message 1000 people talking about it, when I searched in facebook. [Facebook displays this text if a lot of people are talking about a particular topic]

I was extremely happy to see that many people had pasted my message on their walls.  The message got mixed comments, many opposed my views, but a decent number supported my views too.  Above all, I felt that people could relate to what I wrote.

Then I checked Twitter.  I saw my messages being shared there too.

So in 4-5 days, my message had gone viral, if I can say that.  And I was really happy and satisfied.

Now, for the past couple of days, I was thinking what are my learnings after this experiment, so that I could record it myself and share it to a larger audience / fellow writers.

My Learnings:

If the idea/message is good and relatable, people are willing to appreciate it and share it.

As writers, we need that dose of motivation.  Although, we can say that we write for ourselves, etc. etc. people sharing/reading/appreciating what we write is what we crave for.

My name (or lack of it) maybe a bottleneck in spreading my message/writings.

A gut feel said that if I had put my name in there, maybe it wouldn’t have crossed my initial network.  So, somehow I have to get my brand image up so that even if I wrote it along with my name, the message would be cascaded to everyone.

Timing is important.

I dare say this.  Because I chose to do this experiment on a hot and pulse racing topic.  So I got the timing right.  Maybe this experiment would have failed if the timing wasn’t right.  Or at least, it wouldn’t have been this viral.

It’s always good to check your numbers for the impact.

I had solid proof that my message was reaching people as I could visually see people’s walls, websites and twitter posts.  If I couldn’t check those, somehow I would have felt different.  But having strong proof made me happier.

It feels good to try new things

Regardless of the outcome, I actually felt satisfied to try something different.  Outcome being good is a great boost to my morale.

We can learn from whatever we do if take some time to reflect on it.

Reflecting on what has happened, I managed to write this piece as I love reflecting on my self and sharing my learning to others.  Even if one person learns something from this post, I would be very happy.

It was a big confidence booster

Make no mistake about it, this exercise was a big confidence booster.  I would have still felt satisfied if this experiment failed.  But now I am happy and proud of myself and I feel so confident of myself. Like I am a high.  Nothing feels more good for a writer than seeing his work getting appreciated.

 

So, my dear readers/writers, that’s all I have for you today.

Signing off

The anonymous Rajaraman 🙂

[Edited]

On request from my fellow bloggers, I am mentioning the link to the message below:

New currency and the Common Man

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16 thoughts on “What I learnt from writing an anonymous message on whatsapp that went viral?

  1. What a great message, Rajaram! Kudos! I remember reciting half of the points to my dad when he told me that the common shopkeeper is suffering. I asked him if the general stores shopkeeper next to our house ever paid taxes!

    Btw – not everyone can see the comments easily, especially the ones on mobile devices. So why not post the message in the blog post itself?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Ribo: Hey, I told you.  I will find newer and newer ways to make you not write.  I tried confusion to unsettle you.  It didn’t work out.  You wrote about what was bothering you and in turn about me.  I needed some other tool to block you.  By God’s grace, Your work at office increased and also Prime Minister Modi’s move helped me.  It served as a much needed distraction.  You haven’t wrote anything for two weeks now except the viral whatsapp message. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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