That Time I Broke The Internet

About 3 years ago I broke the internet. Here’s what happened:

Wednesday 25 March 2015

In the HerCanberra writers group, one of the editors mentioned me and suggested putting together an Easter themed article about healthy chocolate recipes. I was in a funny mood that day and thought: “Geez, there aren’t really healthy chocolate recipes, people should just eat chocolate mindfully and sensibly and just enjoy it and not overdo it.” I decided that idea would make for a super boring article. ‘Moderation’ is not exactly selling millions of books these days…

So I wrote this:

Then a question hit me. What if I did a video?

I sat at my desk for a little while staring at my computer screen and envisioned myself frolicking through the Australian bush gleefully hunting and gathering my easter eggs. Hell, I could even make calorie free chocolate in The Healthy Eating Hub‘s kitchen. It would be awesome. I started having a private little giggle.

Anyway, I wasn’t serious about it at all. I was just mucking around. Besides, when would I have time to make a video? I have a hard time keeping up with managing a private practice and showering daily (sometimes I become a workaholic and forget… don’t judge me) let alone busting out my very amateur videographer skills.

I got on with my day.

Tuesday 31 March 2015.

It was just a regular Tuesday morning at The Healthy Eating Hub. I was chilling in my office, responding to a few emails. Another practitioner was in conducting appointments and one of our interns was manning reception. As was customary for a Tuesday morning the editor of HerCanberra (at the time), Jess, inboxed me. We chatted about my article for the next day (Wednesday) and whether it was going to be Easter themed or not.

Originally, I was just going to put something together about raising healthy kids. This was mostly ’cause I was unsure of how to approach the idea of a weekend of chocolate consumption without coming across as a food nazi or a nutritionist confused about the word moderation…

I don’t know what overcame me, but I just went: “Ok, I’ll write the crazy calorie-free Easter one and I’ll do a video…”

So I got out my iPhone, dumped all the photos onto my computer to free up some space, set it up on this crappy little tripod I bought on eBay for $3 and away I went with my video: Five ways to reduce the calories from your chocolate this Easter.

I roped in an intern to do some filming and one of my dietitian’s had the fun job of throwing small chocolate eggs into my mouth, a few of which actually bruised my lip. I even managed to get a small bruise on my forehead from smashing hollow eggs on my head (in hindsight, I should have employed a stunt double) but gosh I was having fun.

In fact, I bloody cracked myself up. I hadn’t laughed so hard at myself in a long time and although I professed apologies to Ellyn for giving her such an odd work day at The Healthy Eating Hub, it was the best day I’d had at work in weeks.

I spent the afternoon on iMovie cutting the video and getting it just right. It was done.

While waiting for parent-teacher interviews that afternoon, I inboxed Jess and Amanda from HerCanberra with the YouTube link. Would they like my day’s efforts? Or would they politely decline and suggest a more generic article? My mind echoed: “Should’ve stuck to your day job.”

Wednesday 1 April 2015

It turns out they loved it. It was published Wednesday morning. You can read it here: Five Ways to Have a Calorie Free Easter.

Thursday 2 April 2015

So it turns out that everyone loved the article and accompanying video. The article got shared heaps, people were totally getting my wacky humour and giving me great feedback. My family had all thought I’d lost the plot.

Even one of my nutrition idols, Tim Crowe from Thinking Nutrition, shared the article and got a massive response from his followers. I’d always hoped that he’d find one of my articles and share it on his page, but I’d always thought it would be one of my intelligent ones…

It had been a great response. I was stoked.

Then something happened that I wasn’t prepared for. One of my quotes – the one about paleo easter eggs. It was a joke taking the mickey out of a highly popular and often misguided fad diet. It really went viral – someone had made it into a meme.

And then the internet broke.

Over the Easter weekend that one statement got created into about seven different versions of the above meme (that I found). I found it over 20 times under the #paleo hashtag on Instagram, all posted within a 20 minute window. Every few hours (Ok, minutes) I’d check Instagram again and find the same story – it was everywhere! People were tagging me on the memes on Facebook and Instagram all day.

‘Bush’ had morphed into ‘bushes’ (perhaps an American influence?) by this time. And by the end of the weekend I’d come across a few different versions as people tweaked it and re-published it.

HerCanberra writers fearlessly asked pages to credit me as the author and were dropping links to the original article left, right and centre. It was out of control. The quote had taken on a life of its own and completely left me, its creator, behind.

Friday 3 April 2015

I vented my frustration to the HerCanberra writers group. I was annoyed at myself. I should have foreseen this (the perfectionist in me) and made my own memes (hindsight is a bitch)! In despair I thought: “No-one will ever know that it was me who said it first!”

Saturday 4 April 2015

Then came my Easter blessing. HerCanberra’s web and graphic designer, Javier, did the most incredible thing. She made me my own meme. I pray God blesses her socks off! I truly do. She seriously made my day! They are absolutely beautiful. Here it is:

I hastily shared my newly created memes all over my social media networks. They went so well and got shared over 100 times via my various channels. I was addicted to notifications before – now I need rehab.

However, this version of the meme (shown below) was to take the cake. It was all over Instagram and Facebook. Fox FM shared it Saturday afternoon and it’s got the biggest response that I’ve come across so far. Look at my lovely friend Michelle sharing my meme in the comments! I seriously know some wonderful people!

Sunday 5 April 2015

I start to gather my thoughts… The thing about all this whole weekend is that I feel two emotions, each just as strong as the other.

On the one hand I’m absolutely stoked and elated. I said something that resonated with the masses. I’ve been busting my butt in business for the past five years and to have created content that was so positively received and loved by so many has just been outstanding. It gives me hope for my ability as a content creator and business owner that I’ve got what it takes (who’d have thought it was smashing Easter eggs on my head or throwing them into the bush for a paleo joke…!).

On the other hand I’m completely devastated. Like I said above, the quote took on a life of its own – it outgrew me and left me behind. The many thousands of people that shared and liked it will never know that it came from me. I feel little bit ripped off because I’d love, just for a second, that all my hard work in this video helped me pay my bills…

Monday 6 April 2015

I decide that even if it’s a selfish last ditch attempt at reclaiming the quote, that I would tell my story of the time that I broke the internet.

And now that I’m done, I’m off to go put it on my resume.

Article by Kate Freeman

Registered Nutritionist. Writer. Presenter. Home cook. Mother. Wife. Runner. Hiker. Amateur photographer.