Social Media

Sorry Ellen, A Chicken Nugget Tweet Just Broke Your Retweets Record

What a time to be alive!

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May 09, 2017 at 11:29 AM ET

UPDATE (May 9, 2017 11:29 a.m.): Carter Wilkerson eclipsed Ellen Degeneres’ long-held retweet record on Tuesday morning. In celebration, Wendy’s awarded him the year’s worth of chicken nuggets and donated $100,000 to charity to boot.

Original story from May 5, 2017: One month ago today, a teen in Nevada was laying in bed, scrolling through Twitter just like any other phone-addicted soul. And then, he had an irresistible (and relatable) craving: Chicken nuggets. With no poultry goodness present, the high schooler fired off a tweet to Wendy’s asking what it’d take for a free year of delicious nuggs. They came back with an outrageous goal, he screenshotted, set his phone to all caps, and let a now-legendary tweet fly.

Sometime in the next few days, 16-year-old Carter Wilkerson will have the most retweeted tweet in Twitter history. More than Barack Obama’s victory tweet. More than Louis Tomlinson’s bromance tweet. The only thing that stands in the way now is Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie — and after a month of chicken nugget madness, the long-standing record holder looks ready to fall.

DeGeneres, not ready to relinquish her record, filmed a PSA pleading fans to retweet her selfie whenever they retweet Wilkerson. She later brought him on her show to ask: “Why are you trying to sabotage my selfie?”

“Ya know honestly, I just want chicken nuggets,” the teen from Reno replied. This kid is a go-getter.

The tweet has become a mini-cultural phenomenon in its short life, propelled by a popular #NuggsForCarter hashtag. Wilkerson’s even made a whole website dedicated to the cause, complete with a clothing line where the proceeds go to charity.

Of course the #brands jumped in on the tweet. T-Mobile’s CEO offered a year of Wendy’s nuggets if he’d switch cell phone providers, a mattress company offered a new bed, and if he hits the 18 million retweets, United Airlines has offered to fly him anywhere around the world — although that one might be worth declining. As for Wendy’s themselves? One calculation estimates it would’ve cost more than $800,000 to reach the same audience.

So onward he marches toward the 18 million. It’s still far off in the distance, but by no means an impossible feat. Even still, while Wilkerson continues his mission, he’s about to break the most-prized record in social media. That’s an accomplishment in itself. Go treat yourself to some chicken nuggets, Carter.