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American Teen’s Chicken Nugget Request Sets New Twitter Record

This photo shows a Wendy's restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island. A Twitter plea from a Nevada teen for a year free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s became the most retweeted tweet of all time on May 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
American Teen’s Chicken Nugget Request Sets New Twitter Record
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This is What's Trending Today...

For more than three years, television show host Ellen Degeneres has held the world record for most retweeted Twitter message.

More than 3.4 million people have retweeted a “selfie-style” photo she took while she was hosting the 2014 Academy Awards show, or Oscars. Hollywood stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Bradley Cooper are in the photo with her.

Now, however, the retweet record belongs to someone else.

Unlike Ellen, he is not famous. His name is Carter Wilkerson. He is 16 years old and lives in Reno, Nevada.

On April 5, he posted a question on Twitter.

“Yo @Wendys, how many retweets for a year of chicken nuggets?” he wrote.

Wendy’s is a fast food restaurant. There are many of them all over the United States. They serve food like hamburgers, french fries, ice cream, and, yes, chicken nuggets -- small pieces of fried chicken.

Wendy’s quickly came up with a number for Wilkerson. The company said on Twitter it would give him free chicken nuggets for a year for 18 million retweets.

Later that day, Wilkerson posted a picture of his question and Wendy’s answer. He asked Twitter users to help him reach his goal of 18 million retweets.

Wilkerson’s campaign for free chicken nuggets soon went viral. Famous people like actors, sports stars and politicians retweeted. So did many lesser-known Twitter users. They used the hashtag #NuggsforCarter. “Nuggs” is a short form of “nuggets.”

Earlier this week, Wilkerson reached 3.42 million retweets. That is still well short of Wendy’s request for 18 million.

But it was enough to break the world record on Twitter.

It was also enough, apparently, for Wendy’s. The company said it would give Wilkerson free nuggets for a year, anyway.

Wendy’s officials congratulated him for breaking the Twitter record. They also announced a donation of $100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption. Thomas was the founder of Wendy’s restaurants. He started the aid organization to help find homes for children under the care of the government.

Carter Wilkerson himself created a website to help raise money for the foundation.

Marketing experts have been writing about Wilkerson’s success. They are studying how average Twitter users -- and not only so-called “influencers” -- are important for advertisers and businesses such as Wendy’s. Influencers are those people who have the power to influence many people through social or traditional media. They are famous people or people with a lot of followers.

Other Twitter users are now following Wilkerson’s lead.

One asked Taco Bell, another fast food restaurant, how many retweets he needed to get free tacos for a year.

And another asked President Trump on Twitter how many retweets he would need to receive a year of college for free.

So far, though, those questions have not been answered.

And that’s What’s Trending Today…

I'm Caty Weaver.

Ashley Thompson wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

host - n. a person (especially a man) who is entertaining guests socially or as a job

viral - adj. spreading very quickly to many people especially through the Internet

advertiser - n. a person or company that makes the public aware of a product, service, or event.

influence - v. to affect or change (someone or something) in an indirect but usually important way

taco - n. a Mexican food that consists of a folded and usually fried piece of thin bread (called a tortilla) that is filled with meat, cheese, lettuce, etc.