What Happend After I Accidentally Went Viral on Medium

What It’s Like (And How Much $$$ You Make) When Your Article Breaks the Internet

JP Brown


Photo by Richard Ciraulo on Unsplash

I had just finished a day of responding to emails for my business.

The TV was on in the background: A news conference was being held about the fate of the six people aboard the Titanic submersible. It was a sad finale to the news sensation that had captured the attention of the world: all six people on board had died.

Reporters fielded a number of questions, but there was one that came up a few times that surprised me: “Will you be retrieving the bodies?”

It seemed like a silly question. As the son of a career oceanographer, I know a little bit about what happens to bodies at those pressures. There were no bodies. The bodies were instantaneously transformed into a cloud of red tide.

So, I got an idea for a quick article. It was a hastily researched piece, fueled more by curiosity and fascination than any expectation of mass appeal. The topic was tragic, timely, and perhaps a bit grim for casual readers:

I hit “publish,” closed my computer, went to the kitchen to cook dinner, and promptly forgot about what I wrote.

The ‘Oh S#!T’ Moment

The next morning, as I do, I opened up my laptop and checked my personal email account. One subject line made me drop my morning coffee.

Congratulations! Your story is trending on Medium.

I had dozens of email notifications from Medium telling me about people who had added my story to collections, new followers added, and that people were highlighting my story.

I switched over to see my stats, and in the 12 or so hours since I wrote – and forgot about – writing the article, I had gained 15,000 views. That number was climbing every time I hit refresh.



JP Brown

Entrepreneur/business owner (ElopementBiz.com). Lover of the simple things, always questioning why. Committed to truth, not consistency. Twitter.com/mindofjp