I met Adam Ballard a few years ago. It was a “virtual” meet. The Louisiana dad, self-proclaimed internet aficionado, fitness enthusiast, and all-around badass started writing for pop culture and gaming website GeekBinge.com at the same time I did. We wrote articles, speculated on the site’s gaming podcast, and exchanged comments about Nintendo in many a thread.
Our tenures at Geek Binge ended, his just a few months before mine, for very different reasons. I stopped playing video games regularly. He and his wife, Kellie, had their first child, so Adam rightfully dedicated himself to caring for the small human. We remained friends on Facebook, sharing nerdy interests and enjoying each other’s various side projects. We’ve never met in person, but following Adam’s dad life on Facebook has always been a downright joy. Comedy and sentiment play gracefully side by side in each of his posts, and his love for his “kiddos,” as he calls them (he has two now), permeates his entire network. He sets a perfect example for parents in the age of social media and brings plenty of chuckles, but last week, a goofy post featuring his infant son, Miles, did much more.
“When it’s just the dudes at home…” read the caption. The shot welcomed me into the Ballard’s home: an unassuming kitchen counter with a sparsely decorated dining room in the backdrop. The kitchen table was littered with various childcare supplies. Adam walked into frame to the intro of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” with Miles strapped to his chest in a baby harness. In the three-ish minutes that followed, I couldn’t do a thing but smile:
Friends in Adam’s network shared a few laughs in the comments, myself included, and one particularly smart connection urged him to make it public to allow sharing. Adam obliged, and the view count gradually rose to 1,000. In the few days that followed, I watched the video skyrocket to 5,000, 10,000, and 50,000 views. I returned to the suburbs to care for my mom during and after her ACL surgery, and we found joy in following the view counter as it launched into the hundreds of thousands. I would go to sleep and wake up only to find its audience had doubled. Adam stayed thoroughly engaged with the audience, responding to comments and genuinely relishing the happiness that his silly video had given its many viewers. Adam even received a message from Vincent Paterson, one of MJ’s choreographers, congratulating him on the adorable video, cracking a joke about the Miles’ moves, and sharing it to his page.
Of course, it wasn’t long before others noticed the video’s traction and started to tag Ellen DeGeneres and other talk show hosts. One keen viewer (yours truly) started using #GetMilesOnEllen. And it seems that possibility is more concrete today than ever before.
In speaking with Adam briefly today, he revealed that media agencies had reached out to assist him in further spreading the video through shows, commercials and other channels. Writers are taking notice, too: SB Nation published this article, and they even gave Adam a shout-out for his American Ninja Warrior attempt. The Reddit community, which catapulted the dance to number three in the r/videos feed, is going crazy in the comments section. As of this writing, Mile’s rendition of “Beat It” has more than 37,000 hits on YouTube and nearly 2.5 million views on Facebook. So far, it shows no sign of slowing down.