In a post-Kardashian world, every millennial thinks they have what it takes to go viral, but few consider what that online fame actually looks like in a person's daily life. In Elite Daily's new series Life Behind The Likes, we speak with the people you know on the internet — from the people behind major Instagram accounts to the Daaaaamn Daniels of the world who went viral for one remarkable moment of their lives — to meet the people behind the screens.
In a world where bad news seems to outweigh almost everything else, what I'm about to say next may be a little hard to believe: There is an Instagram account devoted to exclusively sharing good news. George Resch, aka Tank Sinatra, operates the account called Tank's Good News that delivers positive stories from around the world. From heartfelt adoption stories to teacher appreciation posts, there's no shortage of uplifting moments. So exhale, and get ready for happier headlines.
His page, Tank's Good News, boasts more than 1 million followers as of publication, and it is solely operated by the longtime comedian. He started the page just a year and a half ago, which may sound like an overnight success story, but it's actually taken years to get the account to where it is today.
Resch's own personal story helped serve as a kind of inspiration for the account. He says that he struggled with sobriety more than a decade ago, before getting completely sober at 22. "I would be frustrated that I wasn't positive, but I wasn't looking for anything to be positive [about], so it was a vicious downward cycle where I was unhappy and I looked for things to justify my unhappiness," Resch, 38, recalls. "When I got sober, I thought doing that would kill me. So, I felt like I needed to be positive to survive."
I didn't know if there was a market for good news, but I knew if I could make people feel good, they would come back.
The process first started with Resch creating funny memes on QuickMeme, an image captioning website, and sharing them on Reddit back in 2008 (before we even called them "memes"). But even then, Resch wasn't necessarily uploading posts with the hope of going viral. He says he "just wanted to make people laugh."
His memes weren't just positive — they were wildly popular and going viral across the platform. But in time, Resch wanted a way to make his content more cohesive. Having found a solution in Instagram, he moved to the social media outlet in 2015, where he created his other famous page, Tank Sinatra, a platform where he still shares everything from The Office-inspired memes to funny videos of himself. "The page took off, I guess because you couldn't find [that content] anywhere else. You had to follow me if you wanted to see them," he explains.
A couple years and about 100,000 followers later, Resch decided to expand his platform, creating Tank's Good News in 2017 — a decision he says stems from his frustration with the current news cycle. "CNN, Fox... they've made a business out of creating a visceral reaction out of people but that reaction is fear, anxiety and negativity," he says. "I didn't know if there was a market for good news, but I knew if I could make people feel good, they would come back." He admits there's still a visceral reaction to his daily content, but "it's on the good side."
The page grew quickly, particularly taking off in the immediate wake of 2017's Hurricane Harvey. The Category 4 storm, which struck Texas that August, resulted in enormous destruction and significant loss of life. According to the National Hurricane Center, it cost $125 billion in damage, which is the second-costliest hurricane in United States history. While there were endless negative angles to focus on, Resch chose to highlight the heroes. "While people were losing their homes and wading through water, people were taking off of work and pulling their boats out or driving hundreds of miles to go rescue people," he says. And those were the stories he chose to share.
Resch mostly finds his stories by digging around through Reddit and Twitter and taking suggestions from his followers. But, surprise! He also gets ideas from mainstream news outlets. "[They] do human interest pieces and/or uplifting news. They just don’t put them at the forefront," he explains. "But they’re not too hard to find if you know where to look."
Positivity and humor are not mutually exclusive. I think people think you have to be mean to be funny or someone has to be the butt of the joke, and that's not the case. You don't have to be rude or hurt someone's feelings for a laugh.
Resch seems to look in the best places, as evidenced by the treasure trove of content on his page. And while there's some pretty sunny stuff, it's not saccharine. It's real, unlike the usual tabloid fodder.
The account features inspiring stories about charities, tales of underdogs reaching milestones, and more. In April 2019, for example, he highlighted Sara Hinesley, a 10-year-old third-grader from Maryland who was born without hands and still won a handwriting competition, per TIME. Back in February, he celebrated Haley Moss, who is the first openly autistic lawyer in Florida, according to Today. Then, there's Los Angeles Rams player Brandin Cooks, who earned a shout-out in January for gifting a locker room janitor tickets to the 2019 Super Bowl. There are endless options for feel-good content, like this post about fellow diners who joined a widow who was eating dinner alone:
As Resch perfected the "recipe" for the Tank's Good News IG account, it attracted huge influx of followers in 2018. That year, his content caught the eye of Jimmy Kimmel's wife and producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Molly McNearny, who then shared one of his posts — and in came a bunch of famous faces. "Jessica Alba, Olivia Munn Nick Kroll, John Stamos," Resch recounts. Kristen Bell even gave him a shout-out online after catching wind of his page, telling her fans that Tank's Good News is a "mandatory follow." From there, he says, "50,000 followers came in, including Kate Hudson and Jennifer Garner."
Everyone wants to know what's [going] right in the world instead of what's wrong.
The fame has its perks. After all, it has helped Resch attain financial security. While he admits he's still working on making money from Tank's Good News, he says he's been able to parlay his Instagram fame from his Tank Sinatra account into a full-time career as of January 2018. But it has also opened the door for trolling. "I thought Tank's Good News was untrollable," he says. "It's upsetting because there are plenty [other] places to go be negative. There's almost any other place you can go." He tries not to give attention to the naysayers, because he, for one, doesn't want them "dragging down the energy of the page."
Resch also believes there are lessons that they can learn from his page. "Positivity and humor are not mutually exclusive. I think people think you have to be mean to be funny or someone has to be the butt of the joke, and that's not the case. You don't have to be rude or hurt someone's feelings for a laugh," he explains.
When it comes to the future of Tank's Good News, Resch is hoping to land his own news show. "It doesn't matter where it goes, just that people see it," he says. He also has big dreams for the future of mainstream media, even if they affect his own platform. "The best thing that could happen out of all of this is that mainstream media would make Tank's Good News irrelevant because they've changed the way they report news," Resch says. "It sounds like it would be negative, but that [would mean] that the intended effect happened."
Until then, Resch is optimistic about his success of page, saying, "Everyone wants to know what's [going] right in the world instead of what's wrong." When it comes down do it, "everyone craves positivity."
If you or someone you know is seeking help for substance use, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357).