(CNN/WKRN) - It was supposed to be a lesson in social media and online use. An educator posted a picture on the internet to show her student's how quickly what you put online can spread across the world wide web. Little did she know her lesson would go viral.
For teachers who think few students pay attention in class, meet Julie Culp. "I decided that I was going to post a photo on Facebook," says Julie Culp.
The photo is one of Culp, the Counselor at Indian Lake Elementary school in Hendersonville, TN holding a sheet of paper, explaining she's teaching students how quickly a photo can be seen by lots of people. She asked people to "please click like." And people did.
"In the first minute Ms. McKinney our fourth grade teacher had already liked it," says Mary Grace, a student.
Quickly the photo captured the eyes of hundreds. "This is when I went to bed and this is when I woke up and then this was a 24 hours," says Culp. 717 in 24 hours. Then, it exploded. "As days progressed, three and a half million people liked it. Once it got off of my page, I really can't keep up. I know that there was one Facebook page that posted and I think they got around a million likes," says Culp.
It hit Twitter, Google +, and other social media platforms. "This is actually from a German newspaper," says Culp. Even in a foreign language, the message gets across.
"You've gotta think before you do it, you can't just post something up there and not think that it's a big deal because it can be a big deal," says Culp.
And her lesson, is being heard loud and clear by her intended audience, her students.
"Who knows, like if you get jobs, they may check your Facebook, twitter accounts, anything you have," says Jamey Tucker. "If you don't want everyone to see it, you don't need to put it out there," says Culp.
Ms. Culp says this experiment was intended only to teach her fifth grade class a lesson, but it's apparent it's taught more than five-million parents around the world the same lesson.