There was a time when Facebook likes were used to cure cancer, and save the lives of young children. “1 like = 1 life saved!” posts would proclaim on Facebook, and righteous netizens would happily comply. The magical power Internet likes appears to be on the wane, because someone has managed to amass 2,300,000 Retweets in his quest to get free chicken nuggets.
Carter Wilkerson, 16, was messing around his Twitter account on 6th April. He must’ve been feeling a bit peckish, because he tweeted to popular fast food chain Wendy’s: “Hey @Wendy’s how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets.” Wendy’s has 1.6 million followers, but some bored intern manning the handle presumably managed to catch the tweet. “18 million,” they casually replied. Wilkerson immediately took a screenshot of Wendys’ promise, and tweeted it with a simple “HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS.”
And thus #NuggsForCarter was born.
HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017
Wilkerson was no Twitter celebrity – he had a few thousand followers when he’d tweeted, but his plaintive plea struck a chord. Just four days later, his tweet has 2.2 million retweets – and is on track to become the most retweeted tweet in history. The record of 3.6 million retweets is currently held by a tweet featuring a selfie of the who’s who of Hollywood, but looks like it might just lose out to chicken nuggets.
To be fair, Wilkerson appears to have had some institutional support. Microsoft had thrown its weight behind the campaign within the first few hours, and in the technique made famous by the ALS Challenge, tagged Google and Amazon.
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) April 7, 2017
And incredibly, tech companies seem to have a soft corner for the hungry teen. Google is usually reticent on social media, but managed to tweet its support, cheekily asking Wilkerson if he was “feeling lucky.”
— Google (@Google) April 8, 2017
Amazon wasn’t going to be left behind.
— Amazon (@amazon) April 8, 2017
And given that Microsoft had already endorsed the initiative, Linkedin was a bit of a shoe-in.
— LinkedIn (@LinkedIn) April 9, 2017
Not all businesses were willing to help Wilkerson so easily though. Eagle-eyed T-Mobile CEO John Legere noticed from his screenshot that Wilkerson was using rival network AT&T. Legere came up with an offer of his own – switch to T-Mobile, and he’d give him free chicken nuggets himself.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) April 8, 2017
It’s not clear whether Wilkerson has taken T-Mobile up on the offer, but he’s smartly tagged third service provider Verizon, egging them to come up with a counter-counter offer.
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 9, 2017
All this while, while other businesses are scrambling to help a teen get his nuggets, the silent winner is probably Wendy’s. 2.3 million retweets prominently featuring its brand name is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars of digital marketing budgets, and it’s something that Wendy’s got thanks to a two word tweet saying “18 million.” The internet is a strange strange place, and regardless of whether Wilkerson gets his beloved nuggets, the employee who’d replied to his initial tweet definitely deserves a raise.