In today’s internet-centric age, going viral can mean the difference between success and failure, fame and infamy. Viral videos have run the gamut from the hilarious to the tragic and their impact on the way we communicate with one another is indisputable.
Viral media has wormed its way into every community and Huntsville is no exception.
Last week as the water levels rose and Brendale Square once again transformed into Huntsville’s notorious beer lake, Randy Mitson and Nate Smith of Algonquin Outfitters decided to have a little fun and take some photos of Smith paddling his way across beer lake to the Beer Store.
Neither one had any idea that in the coming days their photograph (which was first published on their Huntsville Facebook page) would go viral with reposts numbering in the millions across the globe.
“We didn’t notice it had gone viral until it already had well over 100,000 views,” Mitson said. “It’s on Reddit, theCHIVE and a whole bunch of others as well.”
Mitson’s photo was picked up by sites around the world, reposted in multiple languages, was shared by celebrities and has racked up dozens of pages of results.
“If you Google image search it, there’s 18 pages of results that turn up that photo,” Mitson said of the photos impact.
Mitson said that people throughout Ontario and even into the United States have been seeking to connect to the photo, with people as far north as Thunder Bay and as far south as London, claiming that the photo depicts their beer store.
“The big thing is people want to connect with it in some way,” Mitson said. “Everyone’s looking for a connection with it, there are people tagging each other, claiming it’s their town, or it’s someone they know. Some people have even said it’s them in the photo.”
The photograph has sparked some interesting responses according to Mitson who says the reactions have ranged from questions of Photoshop to hydro-dynamic engineering.
“There’s a whole forum on Reddit discussing Photoshop and there’s another forum discussing hydro-dynamic engineering relating to the photo,” Mitson said.
Mitson said he’s heard from friends as far as Australia who have seen the photo pop up on local websites and has received a few emails asking if he’s made any money since the picture went viral.
“It’s gone as far as Australia. A friend of mine found that it had been published there in conjunction with some flooding going on… I’ve also had some friends ask how much money we’re making, but when something goes viral it becomes public domain more or less, so I’m not too worried about it.”
When asked whether he had thought of using the photo for advertising or marketing, Mitson said they had thought about giving it to the Beer Store to use.
“We were going to contact the Beer Store, but at this point I think it’s been used enough.”
Mitson says that the photo, while a fun and whimsical picture, also makes Algonquin Outfitters and the people that work there stand out as outdoor adventure enthusiasts.
“We’re about living the adventures… While stand up paddle boarding “beer lake” isn’t on our day trip list, there’s a lot of other great adventures available to visitors and locals in Muskoka and Algonquin Park.”