This past weekend was cartoon character George Jetson's supposed birth.
More than a few friends have joked that I'm now famous after my tweet about George's birth went viral; properly viral, too, with tens of millions of people seeing it.
There's a substantial gulf, though, between fame and being the guy who wrote a tweet everyone saw, so let's unpack that a bit.
It does nothing
It's neat my tweet went viral, but not impactful whatsoever. If you're angling to go viral and turn that into fame, that's not a winning strategy.
Apart from that, the biggest thing was how fast my phone's battery drained, thanks to notifications (yes, I have Twitter notifications on, not just to let me know if a tweet goes viral).
If you need proof, Google "Kergin." I have a pretty rare last name, but I'm still not the first hit (at least, not in my own searches).
And no, People, CBS, ET Canada or anyone else did not contact me.
Finding your name mentioned around the world is surreal
One nice thing about having an uncommon name is it's easy to Google. So I did. As a writer on a web-first news and lifestyle website my name usually pops up a bit.
There's also the fact I know I (inadvertently) sort of impacted so many people's day, even if vaguely, from famous drag queens to infamous Republican politicians; from one of the co-hosts of Radio Lab (sweet!) to a shocking number of accounts that are 🔞. Even an astronaut!
Look, cards on the table, I'm not a big Jetsons fan. Sure, I've seen a few episodes, but that's about it.
To be honest, my partner, Courtney, pointed out the date to me after Lance Bass posted about George's birthday coming up. She sent me the Wikipedia article, which showed (at the time) July 31 as his birthday.
So no, I'm not some uber-geek who's been counting down the days on my "365 Jetsons Quotes a Year" calendar. And I'm not an eagle-eyed fan scouting character pages so much as repackaging someone else's stuff (welcome to the internet) (also, before you ask, she was fine with me tweeting it).
People will criticize anything
A number of people called out the date, July 31, as incorrect. Truthfully, no one knows.
Let's all remember he's a fictional animated character invented during the Diefenbaker administration. His birthday, as far as a calendar day, is never mentioned in the show (I'm still not a fan, I've just done more research, now).
The Wikipedia page has been changed to say 'circa 2022' since there's no way to know what day was born, and some people have taken this seriously, calling my tweet 'misinformation.'
George Jetson is a cartoon character from 60 years ago, nothing about him is real, especially a day of birth. The tweet was for laughs, not a piece of serious information.
That's my yellow circle
I was a little surprised how many people and media accounts just used my screen capture with the date circled, instead of checking and doing it themselves. I'm not asking to be cited constantly, it just surprised me how many just used my images as their own and moved on with their day.
That said, it would have been nice if those who screen captured the whole tweet left my name on it.
Another thing is the total loss of control. I'm not a big influencer on social media, so once that tweet took off, I had nothing to do with it. I mean that in a real sense.
It's like throwing a paper airplane and then having everyone look at once and say "Look at Brendan's paper airplane!"
I knew that was the case before, but it's strange to have something your name is stamped on and everyone associates with you go global. On smaller scales, you can reply or interact in some way, but this was on a whole different level.
I suppose this happens with other creators (like artists or songwriters), but I don't think as rapidly (though perhaps with viral videos and photos, this is a common phenomenon).
Here's your flippin' flying car
A lot of people complained that if George Jetson was being born, we should have flying cars. Two things on that.
First, it's 2022. Flying cars are common in 2062 in the show. That's 40 years away. Think about how things looked in 1982.
Second, they're essentially here. Hell, there are some even called the 'Jetson 1.'