I’ve spent the past two weeks experimenting with Imgur and Reddit as a newcomer to the two social media platforms.

I wanted to see how long it would take for one of my posts to go viral.

To contradict the late Tom Petty, the waiting wasn’t the hardest part.

My post just a few days ago for Imgur went viral with 59,000 views. That was an amazing rush because my previous best was 4,000 on the site, where my identity is 2011flowersJohn, based on the Kronos password a corporate administrator gave me years ago when I worked at my hometown newspaper.

The 59K post is a snipped photo of an Instagram model holding a cup of coffee outside a shop in Southern California. In the background is a “road closed” sign.

The title of the post is “Anybody know why the road is closed?” I thought the sarcastic question would receive a lot of answers and it did with more than 300 of them, most in the NSFW category.

The model is fully clothed, but what she is wearing was provocative enough for Imgur to notify me to label the post as mature content. I’ll leave it at that because if I give more details about the post, my devout Catholic mother would be sending me to Confession were she still alive.

I’ve made 25 more Imgur posts since then in hopes of the next high, perhaps one that would exceed 59K, but I haven’t been able to get past 2K. The hardest part of this whole exercise is waiting to see how my next post fares.

I’ll keep trying for a new personal best because I’m addicted to seeking images, writing titles, posting photos that aren’t mine, interacting with commenters and constantly checking the number of views.

I do the same with Reddit, where I’m known as Grouchy Analysis, and though my numbers there are quite miserable, I enjoy following subreddits devoted to the Beatles, the NFL, books, journalism, OCD and basset hounds. Our basset could create her own subreddit if she didn’t spend most of her time sleeping in a variety of positions and places at home.

I’m caught in time traps because I’m also posting to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, my three longtime platforms.

I’ve seen stories that you are supposed to avoid time traps. I enjoy these traps. They give me energy. They give me focus. They keep me alert.

My typical day: 2 to 5 p.m. on social media, a break to make a bookstore trip and then more social media from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Sometimes I go into overtime, but I never get paid. This is play. This is retirement.

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John E. Bialas
John, 66, is retired from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sun Herald newspaper in Gulfport, Miss., after a 45-year career there in which he was a sportswriter, weekend sports editor, book reviewer, rock music critic, copy editor, blogger, Facebook administrator and award-winning headline writer and page designer. He lives in Gulfport with his wife, Patricia, and writes the blog Pictures of Tilly which you can find at http://picturesoftilly.net/.