Teenager’s request for free nuggets becomes one of the biggest tweets

16-year-old’s tweet is closing in on Ellen Degeneres’s Oscars selfie – but still well short of the 18m retweets needed for free food


All Carter Wilkerson wanted was some free chicken nuggets – now he has one of the most retweeted tweets of all time.

The 16-year-old’s request for a year’s supply of chicken nuggets from US fast-food chain Wendy’s has been retweeted more than 2.4 million times – making it the third most popular tweet of all time, and the most popular of 2017 so far.

To put this in perspective, Ellen Degeneres currently holds the record for the most retweeted tweet ever . Her star-studded Oscars-night selfie has held the record since 2014, with 3.4 million retweets. In second place is One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson with a tweet dedicated to bandmate Harry Styles that scored 2.4 million retweets, knocking Barack Obama’s “four more years” tweet (more than 900,000 retweets) from second place last year.

Wilkerson, who is from Nevada, told USA Today he started it as a joke.

He said: “I sent out the tweet as a joke, but then they responded with the outrageous number.

“I thought ‘Consider it done’ would be funny among my friend group. Then I put the screenshot up and it started gaining momentum.”

But how did a random tweet from a teen about nuggets get so big? The answer lies with brands.

Wendy’s has become known on the internet for its irreverent attitude on Twitter. In January, its uncorporate-like tweets were noticed by the press after it had a mini Twitter war about fresh ingredients.

Wendy’s VP of advertising Brandon Rhoten told Mashable in January : “The intent of the social media team is to represent the brand’s voice as best as they can.

“When folks say, ‘roast me,’ we’re going to have fun with that.”

The Wendy’s social media team, whose Twitter account has 1.61 million followers, ran with the whole thing, exposing the tweet to a wider audience via Twitter’s quote tweet function

They also retweeted celebrities who’d endorsed #NuggsforCarter.

And naturally, the whole thing has become the talk of Twitter.

Whether Wilkerson will succeed in his quest is another matter. Twitter says it has 313 million active monthly users . To reach 18 million retweets, he will have to be retweeted by about 5.7 per cent of Twitter’s active users.

What happens next? Well, Wendy’s has yet to respond beyond eye emojis. There’s also a strong likelihood he and a representative from Wendy’s (perhaps even the person who sent the 18 million tweet) will end up on the Ellen Degeneres show, which regularly features viral stars. After all, Wilkerson’s tweet could well overtake Degeneres’ record-breaker. – (Guardian Service)