January 11, 2018
Christmas Eve 2017 started off like any other day…with my mom insisting we take yet another picture. We all might as well wear go-pros and film our whole day together – with the amount of pictures we take we could construct a stop motion movie and it would come out about the same.
She wore her infamous white “Fa La La La La” Christmas sweatshirt from the 80s accompanied with the white sweats to match – the chance that this outfit would make it an hour without public documentation was unfathomable, so with the determination of the Three Wise Men combined, Libby strategized her next Instagram post.
We were in Louisiana, so we had to be creative in order to capture that winter themed landscape she so desperately desired. The first Christmas wonderland inspired picture took place in front of our white refrigerator, but it didn’t work out because you could tell it was a refrigerator – Gotta respect the abstract approach.
Unsatisfied, she demanded a new angle. Husband Steve, the social media mastermind, chimed in, “You could lie on the living room floor.” Ah! The floor – home to a shaggy, snow-white rug that would surely replicate the likeness of precipitated ice crystals.
Like Red Bull-fueled children opening presents, my dad and I eagerly rearranged the furniture to create room for my mom’s big shining moment – an Instagram “Boomerang”. Noticing the reality of the situation, I positioned myself in the corner, so I could capture a behind-the-scenes shot of my parents doing what I imagine is a daily activity.
A seemingly insignificant moment in time for the Burkhalter’s – a headline story for CNN.
If we only knew what was to come.
With Larry David-like enthusiasm, my dad finished snapping the video. (Mom stayed on the rug a little longer).
I walked into the other room shuffling through my new photos, smiling on the inside – I knew I had something good. “This could get upwards of 10 retweets!” I pathetically thought to myself. I picked the three pictures I thought best told the story and uploaded them to Twitter. Before I published the post, (as I often do) I stewed on what the accompanying text would be. I wrote out one caption and let it sit for an hour or so.
As we prepped for dinner, I made a few edits to the post. As more time passed I began to get frustrated (this is a good look into my writing cycle) as I couldn’t get the copy just right. “Just post it so you can go eat some CHEESE!” yelled the fat devil in my stomach. Then, suddenly, I thought of a totally different angle – I rewrote the entire caption and clicked post. The rest of my family arrived and we had dinner.
By the time I went to bed (midnight) the tweet had around 500 retweets.
“This could get interesting,” I thought.
I woke up at 7:30am and checked my phone.
“Oh. Thirty-three thousand people have retweeted this. Neat.”
Then I saw hundreds of people had replied to the tweet already. People were demanding to see my mom’s boomerang video. Someone actually found her Instagram profile and shared it. Total strangers were sharing videos of my mom.
Note: Never underestimate the rate at which you can go from being a mom to a meme.
I went downstairs to see if my mom was awake. She was still in bed asleep, but I saw that the wall next to her bedside table kept lighting up. Every second the light would flash. It was her phone – It was blowing up because her Instagram app was notifying her that she was getting a comment/like/follow every half second. People from all over the world were wishing her a Merry Christmas. (Except for Stan).
As the morning progressed, so did my anxiety. The number of retweets doubled every hour. By noon it had surpassed 100,000 retweets and 300,000 Likes. I got a notification that NBA Champion Dirk Nowitzki liked it – my childhood hero.
Instagram meme accounts with millions of followers were picking it up – KaleSalad, Cohmedy, WhitePeopleHumor, Betches…
Steve’s mug made it on the front page of Twitter.
Then came the major news outlets and online magazine publications – Southern Living, Glamour, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox News – the list goes on.
Steving up with the Kardashians
I heard it was in the newspaper in Germany. Let me know if you pick up a copy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
China had it.
My mom is big in China now.
By the time it was all said and done, Libby walked away with 17,000 new Instagram followers. Nice work, Libby.
We may have gotten a little caught up in all the hype of precipitous Twitter/Instagram stardom.
To be honest, Lib and I thought we were going to retire on our newfound fortune of cyber points.
Then two days passed and it was over.
Life is back to normal. The only thing that has changed is now my mom calls me twice a day for Instagram lessons. It used to be only once a day.
So, just keep in mind – the next time you tweet, you may be putting your family on national news – and worse, signing up for an indefinite subscription of parental social media coaching. But, who knows, maybe I’ve found my calling.
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