“You know Dad, I think I’m done with princesses.”
I’m not a trending topic. I need to read hashtags a few times before they make sense to me. The modest successes I have had with social media are the internet equivalents of riding an elevator with someone famous—Ron Perlman retweeted a comment I wrote about Mayor Bloomberg, Diana Nyad favorited, retweeted and responded to a photo I posted of my daughter in swimming goggles, Smithsonian Magazine thanked me for correcting them on a mis-captioned photograph the day Neil Armstrong died—it was a photo of Buzz Aldrin. I don’t feel like I’m screaming into the void, that I’m unheard or unappreciated—I mean, out-geeking Smithsonian on the space program… there are few greater geek rewards than that. My posts and tweets reach an audience, they’re just not what you’d call viral. They’re more fungal.
This week I posted a photo on Facebook—a snapshot of my daughter finishing her homework. She said something smart and I asked if I could share it with my friends. When I logged on the next morning, the photo had a solid 38 likes—not bad for a second grader’s homework. Tagging the photo was an afterthought, but since Diana Nyad liked the swimming goggles, maybe the author of the book my daughter was reading would like a mention—38 likes gives you that kind of confidence. I drafted a tweet—my daughter’s photo and her quote, “You know Dad, I think I’m done with princesses.” I ended with the tags @Malala and @MalalaFund. My phone started ringing and didn’t stop all day. It didn’t ring like a phone, but like a bell on a busy shop door, an abacus counting likes and tweets and shares. I read hundreds of comments from around the world, cheering on my daughter and blessing her for reading a book. By this morning my daughter’s photo and quote had been liked, favorited, shared, Instagrammed and retweeted over 43,000 times. Maybe she’s not the only little girl who’s done with princesses.
— Paul Hawkins (@paulhawkinsnyc) February 11, 2015