Never under­es­ti­mate the power of Facebook.

That’s what Ryan Cordell found out when his five chil­dren posted a pic­ture holding this sign “Hi World! We want a puppy! Our dad said we could get one if we get 1 mil­lion likes. So like this!” Then off to the side, “He doesn’t think we can do it.”

Well the Cordell kids quickly blew past their goal.

They hit one mil­lion likes in seven hours.

But the twist in the story is this: Ryan Cordell is an Eng­lish pro­fessor at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and a scholar of the dig­ital human­i­ties. His spe­ciality? Under­standing what went viral in the 19th century.

And he didn’t see this coming?


Ryan Cordell, assis­tant pro­fessor of Eng­lish, North­eastern University


Check out an example of 19th cen­tury virality, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Celes­tial Railroad

Read the article at WBUR →