Life lessons learned from going viral.

In 2013, a blog I made accidentally went internet-famous.

One night I was just sitting on my couch, wondering what it’d look like if I photoshopped Beyoncé’s face onto Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” (spoiler alert: amazing).

And by the time my alarm went off the next morning, my shoddy photoshop skills had been shared thousands of times across Tumblr.

Beyonce photoshopped onto Girl With a Pearl Earring

The idea that started it all.


Mentions on Huffington Post, Mashable, Marie Claire, two appearances on Buzzfeed, an article in Woman’s Day, and a segment on E! News Live later – and the “Carter Family Portrait Gallery” was well and truly initiated into the viral-sensation club.

It was a very weird year, and it taught me a few unexpected things.


1. If you have an idea, don’t overthink it. Just do it.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a planner. Overthinking things is one of my favourite hobbies.

So the thought of having an idea one afternoon, slapping it together, and unleashing it on the unsuspecting internet by dinnertime, would usually fill me with a very special and very sweaty kind of dread.

But for some reason, this time…I just did it.

If I’d fussed over whether the pictures were perfect, or the wording was right, or if the idea was just too silly to bring into existence in the first place, I’d never have done it.

And teenage-Elo’s dream of making it onto E! News Live would never have come true.*

*To be fair, the original dream was to make it on the show as Chad Michael Murray’s new girlfriend, not the anonymous creator of a viral Tumblr blog. But hey, you can’t have it all.


2. It’s okay to be a little proud of the things you do. Even the kind-of-weird things.

When I first launched the blog, I did it completely anonymously. I was too worried about what people would think to come out and say “YES! IT WAS ME! I’M THE BEYONCÉ-OBSESSED WEIRDO!”

It took almost a year (or a century, in internet-time), but I did eventually put my name to it. And – shock, horror! – the world didn’t end. In fact, it led to some really cool opportunities.

It was me all along

Me, to the internet.


Looking back, I wish I’d ignored that little voice telling me to care, and been loud and proud about it right from the start.


3. Strangers will be mean to you on the internet, and it’ll bother you WAY less than you’d think.

Part of the reason I was scared to put my name to the blog was because people on the internet are, like, super mean you guys.

I’m a pretty sensitive wee soul, so I’d always thought negative online comments would keep me up at night, or have me crying into my coffee every morning.

Boy with mullet giving a thumbs up at computer

Dying on the inside…


After the blog started getting a bit of traction, a few not-so-kind commenters did crawl out of the woodwork. And the occasional nasty Tumblr direct message did come my way. But I was surprised to find that I really didn’t care.

I actually found it kind of funny.

Turns out, I was a little tougher than I thought. Go me.

Screenshot of mean buzzfeed comments

Lol thanks guys love you too <3


4. Sometimes, timing and luck are everything.

6 years or so later, I still have no idea how this blog went viral.

My best guess is that I had the good luck to create it at a time when Beyoncé was having a real cultural moment. Or that the right influential Tumblr people shared it at the right time.

I have a feeling it was a lightning-strike combination of the two.

A little good timing, and a whole lot of good luck.


5. Beyonce is the queen of everything.

Fans bowing down to Beyonce

Bow down.


Until next time!


Elo Jack x

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