I’ve invited the artist, sculptor and jewelry-maker Brenda Schweder to provide a few guest blog posts. Please enjoy. And please visit Brenda at https://brenda-schweder-found.myshopify.com or drop her a note to b@brendaschweder.com

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Going Viral

I’ll cut to the chase: I had an Instagram Reel [a short-form video, generically called a Tik-Tok] go viral this past week, reaching [as of the time of this writing] 2 million views!

For those who may not be as entrenched in Insta as this fanatic, all this metric means is that this social media platform [and its algorithm] has pushed your content out to accounts that it thinks will connect with it, keeping more people watching on their channel longer.

Basically, the goal is to garner attention [aka stop the scroll] and gather interactions: Likes, Comments, Shares and Direct Messages [DM’s] in order to build a brand or community, influence, advertise, and yes, get paid.

I’ve been reaching for this crowning IG achievement since the term-of-contagion meant something different than multiplying cells in a Petri dish and—as with any long-term goal—once it happened, I was at-once:

+ Dumb-founded: by the numbers and growth,

+ Mystified: analyzing the why’s and how’s for this particular content,

+ Giddy: this moment had been a loooooong time comin’…

And then:

+ HORRIFIED: that you’re ill-prepared to make the most of it!

So, with this reach came all manner of people. The:

+ Supporters: These peeps run the gamut. At best they’re hyper-fans bleeding your favorite color and wanting to take-in your already-breathed air. They wanna-be you, or be simply near you—preferably on your lap! Conversely—at tamest, they see something of themselves in you or simply cheer you on for the love of what you stand for, OR a faint whiff of something similar.

+ Trolls [Mean Sons-of-Guns]: I’d be lying if I said a few of these ignoramuses’ comments didn’t get under my skin. This segment becomes the hurt-people-hurt-forward type; I like to think of them as the sad clowns at the circus-come-to-town. And honestly/unfortunately, sometimes they’re fun to spar with, but you can always count of their wrath to be provocative, polarizing, and best of all, parlay into more content that rinse-recycles-repeats.

Now, in all honesty, I expected these first two groups and their output—after all, I’d had my nose in these online rabbit-holes for almost two decades.

But it’s this next group that both surprised and delighted! Maybe I’m a bit jaded at 62 or maybe social’s growing up a bit, but to me, they seem to have come outa’ nowhere. I’ll call them:

+ The Truly Curious: I gotta’ say, these Loves really turned my head. Like, wait!? Commenters actually caring to understand something they’d previously went all knee-jerk on?

Some earnestly asked for further definition, some wrote-it-out starting with one premise and swaying themselves to a much more open stance, and some? Well, it’s as if you could see their squinty terrible-two’s side soften to the loveliest shade of wide-eyed tolerance!

They made me want to [gently] explain; gave me pause, challenged me to better define my part of the discussion; and they [here’s where I get goose-bumps] OPENED DISCOURSE!

I wanted to simultaneously laugh, hug, and cry tears of hope!

And all from a 10-second video on a tiny account about weird-ass art jewelry!


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