Monday, 16 December 2013

Going Viral


Neil Watts is a gentleman who I have played cricket with since 1984. A decent club player at Southgate Adelaide Cricket Club, he still plays in our first team at the age of 47. I have played numerous games of cricket with him, and he would be described as being one of the senior statesmen within our cricketing mates. A conservative chap, he is the club treasurer and despite being fairly well known on the North London and Hertfordshire club circuit, Neil did something on Sunday morning which inadvertently took him all around the cricketing world. You probably didn't realise but if you are reading this, the chances are that Neil was on your phone, laptop or ipad yesterday. Here's what happened...

That tweet...with Neil's reflection!

Early yesterday morning Neil took a photo of the screenshot, shown on Sky Sports, of one of the most amazing statistics I have ever seen. No doubt you have all seen it on Twitter by now, but to cut a long story short, at one point yesterday Michael Clarke and Alastair Cook had records which were exactly half of those of the Little Master, Sachin Tendulkar. Clarke and Cook had both played one hundred Tests, Sachin two hundred. Whilst the English skipper had scored 7955 runs (and still has despite one more innings!), his Australian counterpart had scored eleven more Test runs, meaning they had scored 15921 between them. Exactly the amount that Tendulkar finished his Test career with. Not only was this fairly amazing but their 51 Test hundreds combined also amounted to the same amount of centuries as the Mumbai Master. Fairly amazing stats I hear you say. What happened next was just as amazing in our cricket club's world.


Even Sachin can't believe it...

Neil put the photo on Facebook and initially just a few of us from Southgate Adelaide CC were discussing it. What he didn't realise was that his reflection was in the background, although luckily he was fully clothed. Within minutes I had popped Neil's photo onto the Middle Stump twitter feed so our 5000 or so followers could have a look at what an amazing statistic it was. A few more minutes later my phone started to go mad. An hour later the photo was trending in Melbourne, then Australia, then the UK.

Within two hours it was trending in India and with a country of 1.3 billion, many of whom are not only cricket, but Tendulkar bonkers, and it sent our feed into overdrive. The Mumbai Indians with nearly 400,000 Twitter followers retweeted it, followed by ex Indian international turned journalist, Aakash Chopra. Shane Warne with over a million twitter followers even tweeted it out yesterday, followed by Alec Stewart, Adam Gilchrist and no doubt many others with huge followings, all showing Neil's reflection in the background of their tweet. Neil, and The Middle Stump had gone viral.


Photo: Trending in India now...
Trending in India


Most people just concenrated on the stats in the foreground but there were one or two eagle eyed people out there. One of our followers, the excellent Indian cricket writer and blogger Sonali Dhulap, asked us who the 'old bloke' was in the photo causing much merriment amongst the boys at Southgate Adelaide CC. She did tell us it would have really made it go viral if Neil was naked!

In the meantime, my Twitter feed on my phone has crashed, my girlfriend thinks I am having an affair due to my phone going off every two seconds, I never have any battery left despite it being on constant charge, and I have pissed my IT guy off at work no end! Luckily I am self employed, as if I was an employee I would have been sacked by now. Liam worked out this morning that our tweet has been retweeted out over 3000 times. Throw in another 2000 people 'favouriting' it, you can see why our systems are in overdrive.


The Middle Stump twitter feed yesterday lunchtime

We think Neil and his reflection in the screen has probably been seen by 150 million people so far since he took the photo yesterday morning. He jokingly tells us that all enquiries now have to go via his 'agent'. It goes to show the power of social media and how it expands on a worldwide level.

Next time you stick a photo on Twitter...think carefully!

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