On Going Viral

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I sat sipping my coffee at a friend’s home at San Diego relaxing after a hectic day at Disneyland chasing faeries and princesses. The phone dinged and an email from a Huffpost editor popped up. I spent the next half hour crossposting an old piece I had written for Adoptive Families and emailed the editor back.

I spent the rest of the day and the week watching my words take flight. As of this moment, Facebook tells me that the piece has been shared 97,900 times. It is mind-boggling. It is surreal.  Initially I searched for and read comments on the shares. People from all walks of life emailed me. Adoptive parents, adoptees, people who know my children, people who are waiting in the trenches wondering if children are in their future. Their words touched me. I responded, friended and followed up on most messages. I have had people walk up to me at the airport, recognizing us from what was shared on their FB feed.

BBC Asia reached out on Twitter. India Abroad reached out as did Times of India Chennai. Tomorrow I will be on air talking about this particular piece on BBC Asia at noon UK time. I am a bundle of nerves. I am worried about the import of my words.

When I first wrote it, I wrote it for a niche audience, people touched by adoption. People who get what it is like to walk that path. People like me who grapple with questions that have different answers based on circumstances. I assumed they knew the stuff that happens in the background. I assumed they get the insecurity, the fears, the roller-coaster of emotions that is all things adoption.

When the post went mainstream, a lot got lost in translation. Then once it showed up on the Huffpost FB page, the comments got mean and nasty. It upset me.Then I took a moment to regroup. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. That people choose to twist my words, assume things about my life, about my convictions is their problem. I stopped reading and let go.

For years as I wrote posts and shared, I have wondered what it would be like to go viral. Today I know. The numbers are heady, the attention unnerving. I wish I had a finished manuscript to capitalize all of this spotlight that is on what I wrote. The truth is, nothing has changed. This will die down. The page views on my blog will drop back to the hundreds instead of the thousands it has been this week. I will look back on this two seconds of fame with nostalgia. Somewhere in my head, I will weigh what I write, I will heft words in my head before I release them into the wild knowing that without context, they may lose meaning.

Just today though, I am going to kick back, shake my shoes off and enjoy the spotlight.

16 comments

  1. Enjoy the spotlight! Enjoy every minute. You’ve earned it and you’ve given a voice to many who are in your position, but who may lack your talent with the written word. You wrote a wonderful article, friend. Congratulations and my heart is happy when I think of the lives you have touched with your words!

  2. Enjoy, Lakshmi. For all the warmth, honesty, vulnerability and beauty you put in your words, every bit of recognition is great, especially for the noble cause you also espouse through your actions.
    All the best!

  3. Laksh, the spotlight is well deserved. It was an immensely beautifully written and touching piece. Bravo for the attention.. and i hope it catapults you to where you would like to go next with your writing.

  4. Laksh,

    I have always enjoyed your writing so I am not surprised with the attention you are getting. Focus on the positive. There will always be those who say something negative and nothing you do will change that. Keep on being that much needed voice, as you do it beautifully!!

    Congrats and enjoy!!

  5. I have followed your blog for years now..and i immediately jumped up on recognizing you when one of my friends on FB shared this

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