Terry Shipman may be Twitter’s hero today, but to 21-year-old Laura, he’s just “Dad.”
Tuesday night at 7 p.m., 66-year-old Shipman took a selfie with his two dogs, Oreo and Max, and uploaded it to Twitter.
“Let’s see if we can beat the Oscar re-tweets!” the civil engineer tweeted.
He was, of course, referring to Ellen DeGeneres’ celeb-studded Oscar selfie, which received over 2.5 million retweets, making it the most shared tweet in the history of the social platform. But with just 20 followers, Shipman’s efforts were slated to go unnoticed by the masses.
“He tweeted my brother after he put it up,” daughter Laura told Business Insider, “and he was like, ‘retweet my picture.'”
J. Michael and Laura, Shipman’s kids, both attend Texas A&M University and retweeted their dad’s picture; a few of their friends at school followed suit.
“We thought it was cute,” Laura said. She told us her dad is always taking selfies with the dogs and putting them on Facebook.
“He’s not really into Twitter,” she admitted (the now-famous selfie was only Shipman’s fourth tweet!), “but he definitely got the joke about Ellen’s Oscar selfie.”
Soon after his kids broadcasted the tweet to their followers, Laura noticed strangers retweeting it every second.
By 8:30 p.m., her dad’s selfie with the family dogs had more than 1,000 retweets, and she called home to tell him.
Her dad didn’t really understand how it happened, she told Business Insider, but he was really excited and overwhelmed.
“He told me to keep him posted on what was going on,” she said.
By this morning, the tweet had racked up over 30,000 retweets and the attention of news outlets and Sports Illustrated cover models.
Everyone was cheering Shipman on as he turned into a viral sensation quite literally overnight. The Shipman kids are practically celebrities on their college campus today.
But why this guy? Why this picture? Laura said her younger brother says it’s because “people like cute old guys and dogs.”
Looking back on the viral sensations that took over the Internet over the last year (remember the twerking girl who lit herself on fire?), it’s hard to believe that something so adorable and awesome could be the work of a normal dad in Texas and his two puppies.
The sceptics are hopeful that Shipman isn’t a pawn in a late-night television host’s game.
“My dad was so offended that I told him people were wondering if it was fake,” Laura told Business Insider. “I promise, Jimmy Kimmel has nothing to do with this.”
Mr. Shipman will be on “The Today Show” tomorrow via Skype. But Laura has lofty goals for Dad. Right now the photo has over 85,000 retweets, so he’s got a bit of a ways to go before he’s overtaking Ellen’s Oscar snap. But the 21-year-old said if Ellen comes calling for her father, there’s no way she’d let him pass that up.
Even if DeGeneres is the competition.