Lil Nas X is someone who knows a thing or two about going viral. Prior to releasing his number one song “Old Town Road,” which has amassed over 200 million plays on Spotify in six months, Lil Nas X was best known for his funny tweets.
I’ll admit, if someone had asked me who he was before the song’s release in December of 2018, I would have confessed I only recognized his name from Twitter. He was just another one of those Twitter accounts that seemed to put out content that would receive tens of thousands of likes and retweets every week. Normally, I tend to not think too much about these kinds of accounts. They create tweets that I think are funny but, besides a few days of internet fame, what do these content creators stand to gain? This is where the genius of Lil Nas X begins to show.
Through his viral tweets, Lil Nas X managed to gain a relatively big Twitter following, which suddenly gave him a big audience to promote his music to. Once he started putting out music, he was able to make a viral tweet and then promote the song in the tweet’s replies. This technique obviously does not guarantee that everyone who liked or retweeted his tweets will listen to the song, but the song’s reach was instantly amplified.
“Old Town Road” first exploded into mainstream media through Tik Tok and the viral ‘YeeHaw Challenge,’ where people would post videos of themselves dancing in cowboy-themed clothing to “Old Town Road.” As most viral challenges do, the ‘Yeehaw Challenge’ spread from Tik Tok to Twitter and Instagram.
Again, Lil Nas X was able to use this viral challenge to both create new, funny content and promote his song even further. In a time where people are focused so much on virality for virality’s sake, Lil Nas X is one of the few internet personalities who I believe has successfully used his viral tweets to his advantage.