On September 20, 2017, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane María. And a year later we’re all still fighting with its aftermath. It was a horrible experience for every Puerto Rican as everyone lost something that day, from family members to homes and artifacts that they’ll never be able to replace. And before the hurricane hit us, I was being hit by a wave of backlash and hateful comments.
During the preparations for Hurricane María, I was scrolling down my Twitter timeline and retweeting jokes of how the hurricane was gonna miss Puerto Rico, people’s hurricane preparation advice, and all of Ada Monzón’s tweets since its formation. Like everyone on the island, I had turned her notifications on to be well informed, and I came across a tweet that I found funny.
Not only did I decide to retweet the joke, I thought, “Let’s share this funny joke to lighten up the mood on Facebook.” And that’s how I went viral.
At first people were really enjoying the joke, and I was living for the attention my post was getting. Every time I checked my phone, a few hundred of people had shared my post. And it was followed by some hilarious comments along the line of the joke.
The post was getting so much attention that someone tagged the guy that had created the Tweet I had screenshotted. I even decided that it was the perfect time to get some promo. And since I don’t have a mixtape, I decided to promote the closest thing I had to one.
After laughs and some shameless promotion, came the backlash followed by hateful comments from Puerto Ricans and people from the United States.
I would have never thought that this post was going to get so much attention, much less the amount of hateful comments and backlash that came with it. People were so quick to judge and speculate that I wanted Puerto Ricans to suffer that I had to add a caption to the picture to tone down the way people where addressing me.
“All jokes aside, be safe corrillo. If you live in a sketchy area and feel that you’ll be safer at a refugee go. Take care of your animals and be prepare. Y’all it was something that I saw on TW and thought it was funny I’m not the only one making jokes. I’m Puerto Rican I’m with my family and we are safe. Overall BE SAFE! DON’T GO OUT UNLESS TO EVACUATE IF IT’S SAFE TO DO SO Credit to: the 1st comment lol”
That day I learned a valuable thing about the internet and going viral in general. First, each social media platform is completely different and just because something was funny and taken lightly on Twitter, it doesn’t mean that it will be funny or taken well on Facebook because both platforms have particular audiences that interact with them. I also learned that the internet has it’s pros and cons when it comes to expressing oneself, because for the friends and family that know me it was a funny joke that was meant to be taken lightly, while for people that didn’t know me thought I was glad that Puerto Rico was going to be hit by a Hurricane.