This just in: There’s a house divided in the state of Alabama.
I hope you were sitting down when I told you that.
That not-so-shocking revelation was the subject of a viral photo that hit the Twittersphere in the last week. In case you haven’t seen it, scroll up and look at the main picture on this story. I’m not including it here because the original tweet has since been deleted.
Why was it deleted, you ask? Well, there’s a story about that and why this was allegedly an #ItMightMeanTooMuch that was never supposed to hit the masses. Again, allegedly.
AL.com tracked down the mom (Gates Brown) of the family in the photo that featured a twin boy (Matt) picking Auburn to attend school — with all the love from dad (Martin) — while the twin girl (Emilie) picked Alabama.
As the story goes, the Browns are a family of Auburn fans. Gates and Martin went to Auburn, as did their brothers, sisters and parents. One could have assumed that based on the lone balloon and frown on Emilie’s face. They’re a family of season-ticket carrying, Toomer’s Corner-rolling Auburn fans.
The photo was meant to be a joke that everyone — including Emilie — was in on. Obviously. And to their credit, they executed it well. They got all the necessary props, which apparently included an awkward encounter at the store when checking out with a bunch of orange and blue balloons with one single red balloon.
Everyone had the right amount of balloons, everyone wore their proper gear, everyone had the proper facial expression and all was set up for a laughable family moment. Up the picture went on social media, and that’s exactly what the family got. A laughable moment.
So how did it go viral, you ask? And why? Gates Brown didn’t have an explanation.
“We don’t get it,” Gates Brown told AL.com. “We really don’t. I thought some of my friends and family thought it would be funny. We don’t really understand why it spread like it has. I don’t get it all.”
Um, there’s one little detail that I left out. Coincidentally, the mom left it out, too.
Hold up. So she’s not sure why the tweet went viral when she literally tweeted it at the popular Auburn Twitter account @DrunkAubie?
Hmmmm, I’m not internet expert here, but I’m gonna say that had something to do with it. And if the intent wasn’t for the tweet to go viral, why tweet it at @DrunkAubie and the school in the first place?
(By the way, that’s not them in the photo above this sentence. It’s just super fitting. I wanted to clarify that.)
Listen, I’m not mad about that. But just own it. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you thought something you posted might go viral and that’s why you made a massive Auburn account aware of it. There’s no need to delete the post.
Here’s why the tweet, which got a nice bump from @DrunkAubie, went viral. First, a tip of the cap. It was an excellent staged photo that would have gotten a strong reaction no matter what time of year it came out. But the fact that this hit the internet just after the NFL Draft during the quietest time of year on the college football calendar probably helped it spread.
When someone posts something like this, the #ItMightMeanTooMuch often comes from the comments. As we know, there’s not a sarcasm font on social media. Perhaps the replies to the family joke picture were what prompted the post to be deleted, or for them to say “they didn’t get it.”
Welcome to the internet, where total strangers can look at a light-hearted picture of your family and accuse you of not loving your kids equally.
Without the context of knowing that Emilie was in on the joke — and that she said picking Alabama had nothing to do with football — it’s easy to see how Crimson Tide fans would bring the heat in the replies. The photo triggered a reaction because of how well-done it was (the balloons really drove it home).
Consider this the power of social media. All you have to do is stage a well-executed troll photo of a rival fan base, tweet it at a popular Twitter account, get retweeted and the masses will flock. Joking or not, that’s a good way to go viral.
But jokes aside, I still wouldn’t bet on seeing any Alabama bumper stickers make their way on to the family vehicle.