Going Viral

Jessica Sawyer Experience, Spring 2019

You’ve likely seen the popular product of his work on Facebook.

For funnyman Matt Mitchell, his daily work for “It’s a Southern Thing” – including videos for the “So True, Y’all” Facebook Watch page and the “Backporch Bickerin’” series – is a world away from his career starts in nonprofits and the public sector.

A 2010 graduate of University of Mobile with a Bachelor of Science in social science, Matt was a program supervisor for the Alabama Department of Human Resources when his sense of humor opened up an unexpected door.

“I had been writing a Twitter account, the fake Daily Mountain Eagle, and it took off,” Matt said of the parody account that got him noticed as a writer.

“I had been writing things before that, just blogs, but I didn’t even know if anyone was reading it – I was just doing it for myself. But it was the first time I was writing something, and people were reading it.”

And people were taking notice: in 2016, AL.com offered Matt a freelance position to write an article once a week. Before long, they had also offered him a position with It’s a Southern Thing. The move to writing, producing and, sometimes, starring in funny viral videos is one that required quite a bit of diversity and faith.

“It was definitely a leap, and it took a lot of time considering options, praying about it, weighing pros and cons,” Matt said. “An opportunity like this in Alabama isn’t going to come very often. I didn’t want to sit back and not take it and wonder forever what would have happened.”

The Walker County native chose UM because of its small size and Christian environment, and found a community who shared a passion for serving Christ. “There were people from all walks of life with completely different upbringings and opinions, but at the end of the day it all cycles back around to this view of Christ and really just wanting to make the world a better place,” he said.

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Jessica Sawyer