The 4 Year Anniversary of my Abortion Thread
Four years ago today, I was sitting on my sofa in Oakland, California, hesitating before I hit publish on my very first Twitter thread. My biggest worry was that no one would read it, and that I would be embarrassed at my attempt to put these ideas out into the world. I tried to calculate… if the shame was too much, how long it would it take me to delete 63 tweets? In that moment, I had no idea that the thread I was about to publish would play a role in my life, essentially daily, for four years and counting.
Four years! Wow! Since that time, I’ve written lots of other viral threads, but nothing has had the continuous impact of that very first thread. The thread has been liked/retweeted/commented on literally every day for four years. And on some days, there are hundreds or thousands of interactions. I gathered up some stats for those who are curious.
The Stats Behind A Viral Post
I’ve shared the thread, or essay versions of the thread, in several places, and I’ve gathered up some of the associated statistics here.
The thread on Twitter has received:
• 317.7k Likes
• 199.6k Retweets (of those, 58.9k are Quote Retweets, which means someone added commentary when they retweeted)
• 11.4k Comments
• 39 million Impressions
I’ve shared the thread as an Instagram post 3 times. (I’ve also shared it on Instagram Stories many times too — but it’s hard to gather those stats.)
The May 3, 2022 Instagram post received:
• 137,622 likes
• 62,974 saves
• 1907 comments
• 619,237 reach
The September 1, 2021 Instagram post received:
• 63,912 likes
• 28,442 saves
• 1258 comments
• 334,677 reach
The September 16, 2020 Instagram post received:
• 24,341 likes
• 10,419 saves
• 1023 comments
• 28,112 reach
I shared a version of the thread as an essay on Medium. That Medium essay has received:
And I’m amazed to say that those stats only represent a portion of the shares. On Facebook, the thread has been shared thousands upon thousands of times, but I don’t have a way to track those shares. It’s the same on TikTok. Every so often I get a message from someone that a TikTok-er has read my thread on TikTok and it has gone viral there with millions of views. But I don’t know how to search and track that. And I’m also not counting up stats from Reddit or Instagram Stories or any other platforms where it’s not easy for me to see data.
It’s not just shared on Social Media, and it’s not just shared in the U.S.
The thread has been covered in legacy media too. Here are some recent articles and segments:
• USA Today article
• NPR segment
• Today Show article
• Salt Lake Tribune article
• Zeit Magazin (paper of record in Germany)
• De Volkskrant (paper of record in The Netherlands)
Those last two articles remind me: The thread has been translated into many languages — I remember seeing it in Spanish, French, Japanese, Dutch, German, Russian, and Polish. And I know there have been many others, but alas, I never made a complete list!
Fun fact: The thread has been included in two university textbooks.
The thread has developed into a book
The day the book was announced it hit #1 in the Movers & Shakers category, #1 in the Women’s Studies category, and #1 in the Abortion & Birth Control category on Amazon.
Many copies of the book have been sent to the Supreme Court Justices.
The book features 28 arguments making the case for moving the abortion debate away from controlling and legislating women’s bodies and instead directs the focus on men’s lack of accountability in preventing unwanted pregnancies. I’ve had four years to develop and clarify the ideas I presented in the thread, and I think you’ll find the book is much stronger than the original thread.
Not everyone uses Twitter, and it can be hard to even explain what a “twitter thread” is. The ideas are much easier to discuss and take seriously in book form. And the amazing book design by Bonnie Siegler is hard to ignore. The book is thoroughly fact-checked. It’s accessible and interesting and you’ll love it. Read it with your teens! Order it for the high school football coach! Send a stack of ten to your fraternity or sorority! Order a copy for your local politicians — pre-order now so they’ll get it before the November election!
[Quick side-note: My publisher let me know there’s a paper shortage and that we won’t be able to get a reprint before December, so if you want a copy, you need to preorder now.]
Oh my. I feel so much gratitude for you — for everyone who has shared the thread, pre-ordered the book, discussed the ideas with their friends, and helped me refine my thoughts. I really think this book can make a big impact. I think it can affect the way people think about abortion, and that it can affect the way politicians are held accountable. And I think it can help relieve some of the very real burden on women’s shoulders.
That’s all for now. Feel free to comment on anything I mentioned above, or whatever’s on your mind. I hope you’re having a really good week.