It only took a few minutes, around midday, to take photos just around the corner from my house. I posted just three of them onto facebook. An hour or two later, I noticed that my post – I called it ‘Denholme Spring’ – had been viewed well over a thousand times. A bit later it was 3000, and by the end of the day, over 9000.
My posts usually attract only a couple of dozen views. After all, my facebook friend-count is surely one of the lowest, a mere 43. What aroused such (for me) unusual attention?
Well, my facebook friends, few though they are, mostly live nearby, in Denholme, Bradford. And the photos showed what for us Denholmers was very unusual, not seen here for a very long time, if ever – a huge snowdrift on the main road. Narrowing the road to one lane’s width, it was creating traffic havoc. (Denholme lies on a fairly major route. At least, the juggernaut vehicles certainly think it does.)
So that explains some of the 9000 views. But Denholme’s population is less than a third of that. This is where the viral bit kicks in…
It wasn’t just the sight of the monster snowdrift itself, I guess, that sparked interest. The image must have served as a focus for our anxiety about all the weird weather of late. Not just this Christmas-at-Easter bout of snow but the floods that soaked living rooms and closed businesses, following close behind the hosepipe-ban-droughts, the warm wet winters, the birds and insects not knowing when to migrate, the crocuses thinking it’s Spring when it isn’t… I even saw a bumble bee in my garden at the same time as snow! (That was last year and he was too fast for my camera-skills.)
What is happening to the weather? What is happening to the world?
By the magic of facebook, my humble post went ‘viral’. It started with my small band of 43 friends. Some of them ‘shared’ my post on their page, so that their friends saw it. They in turn must have shared it too, I guess. Amassing 9000 views isn’t all that special, perhaps, for some other facebookers, who have hundreds or even thousands of friends. But it was a big deal for me. Even my children were impressed!
By the way, that same snowdrift – the real star of this little viral phenomenon – covered half of page 7 in The Guardian. Unfortunately, not my photo of it. I obviously don’t know the right people. (Well, not yet, anyway! 😉 )
And the main road through Denholme? Well, the very same stretch had featured on the national news the day before the snowdrift appeared – just because it had a lot of snow… and a blizzard… in late March.