2019 was the year of the unexpected. I posted a 39-second video, that’s it. I went from your average, college student-athlete, to an overnight viral sensation. I gained a total of 55 thousand followers between Instagram and Twitter. I was considered a softball icon. My video gained over 2 million views. Did I mention this all happened in less than 46 hours?
I’m a productive person pic.twitter.com/ryAa2GxDS3— Cori Kennedy (@Corikenned) April 10, 2019
Here’s the scoop. I created a comedy hitting tutorial back in December of 2018. I was working at a hitting facility where I decided to be a little creative during closing hours. I made my video only with the intention to send it to my siblings over Snapchat. Fast forward four months, I found the video in my camera roll. It made me laugh, so I decided to post it to my Instagram story where one of my friends messaged me and said, “This needs to be on Twitter.” I took her advice.
I posted the video to my twitter account and nothing out of the usual happened. I set down my phone to go watch a movie with my roommates and when I returned to check my phone, I was blown away by the number of notifications I was receiving (so was my iPhone 6 that glitched out and couldn't hang). Going to bed that night, my video had been viewed over 45 thousand times. When I woke up the next morning, it was well over 1 million views. So I created a second video with a funny take on slap-hitting, which also found identical, viral success.
Here’s where the fun started to happen. People wanted to get to know the “softball twitter girl,” so media outlets wanting to connect with me came rolling in. I was featured on ESPN Radio, written up in the StarTribune, contacted by multiple News and media outlets for interviews. I had truly turned into an overnight media sensation. Young women were recreating my videos with their teammates, not only at practice but in games! I was contacted by National Pro Fastpitch to become a broadcaster and color analyst. My life seemed to be overflowing with opportunities.
With as much fun, love and praise the viral success brought, here’s the thing nobody tells you when you go viral. Many people may love your content, but there are plenty of people who will make it clear that they don’t like what you create. It’s just a matter of time. They don’t tell you the amount of negative and hateful criticism you may receive. They don’t tell you about the personal messages that trolls may send you.
It is truly impossible to please everyone and make everyone in the media world happy. But here’s what I will tell you... That’s OKAY! It’s ok to put yourself out there on social media. It’s ok to be vulnerable! Don’t ever stop adding that flavor to your style just because a small percentage of people tell you not to. It’s not worth it.
Life is full of choices. I made a decision that I wasn’t going to let negative people dictate my happiness or how I portrayed myself to the world. As far as social media goes, it’s normal to feel vulnerable. So many of us crave instant validation after we put ourselves out there, but feel disappointed when we don’t get it. The biggest difference-maker is how I chose to look at it. It seemed that for every negative comment, there were hundreds and thousands of positive ones. That was all the validation that I needed to keep creating content that I enjoyed while staying true to myself.
My biggest piece of advice for anyone who decides to put themselves out there, whether it’s in the real world or social media, is to continue to stay true to yourself. I promise you that it’s WAY more fun being the authentic you, then trying so hard to act like someone you’re not.
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