Chicago Tribune

Commentary: Going viral: The good, the bad, and the food for thought

More than 25 million. That's how many people saw my joke on Twitter.

"I once taught an 8 a.m. college class. So many grandparents died that semester. I then moved my class to 3 p.m. No more deaths. And that, my friends, is how I save lives."

I expected a few likes from fellow professors on my sleepy Twitter account with barely 60 followers. Instead, the tweet went viral, with more than 920,000 combined retweets and likes. It crossed platforms to Instagram, where it became a meme, with many more millions of views. Reddit, Facebook - suddenly it was everywhere.

Thousands of comments and an endless stream of direct messages poured in. Most thought it was funny. Many tweeted pithy replies like "Teachers save lives" and "Not all heroes

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