My Mormon Wedding Went Viral, and I Think The Pope Attended

If Google rankings and Facebook “likes” and “shares” are considered a legitimate popularity measuring device, then my husband and I are, like, [sort-of] famous now.

Well, “anonymously famous” anyway. Today’s post is a visual aide for:

Blog Photo Lesson 101:
“How anything personal you put online can and may be “borrowed”, shared, changed, or otherwise seen in foreign lands, on random Facebook pages or during LDS Seminary classes.”

Here is the notorious wedding photo, taken on our big day, December 19, 1989. I shared this photo in 2008 here, and several other times such as here and here and here.

NOTE: An “updated” version with my “branding” on it.

Imagine my surprise yesterday as I was browsing through my Facebook “home” page glancing at friends posts and I saw my photo shared on a random Spanish-language Facebook page:

The “borrowed” MoSop wedding photo, creatively revised and “branded” by someone else.

With a little more digging and browsing around, I found out this photo has been “liked” and/or “shared” hundreds of times across a very wide spectrum of global Facebook pages (primarily in Spanish, at this point). One can only guess how many other versions are floating around the world. ?!

With my limited non-existent Spanish, I attempted commenting on one of the posts [through my most masterful use of Bing Translator], saying “¡ Hola!” and telling them how this is actually a photo of me and my husband, mentioning that I don’t really know who “Zoe” is who took my photo and branded it their own, but I’m at least glad the photo is being used to share the message of eternal marriage:

¡ Hola! Estoy sorprendido y riendo. Esta es una foto de mi esposo y yo en el día de nuestro boda 19 de diciembre de 1989 en Salt Lake City, Utah. Nuestra foto aparentemente han “robado” fuera de mi blog http://www.MormonSoprano.com y se está compartiendo todo el mundo ahora. :) No sé quién “Zoe” es que lo de la marca. No son los dueños de la foto. Sin embargo, estoy contento de que nuestra foto sirve para un buen propósito para difundir el mensaje hermoso de matrimonio eterno.

LOST- In translation

LOST- In translation (Photo credit: NaturaLite’s “snap decisions”)

The only main problem with using Bing, or any other “I will now pretend to be fluent in your language” tool, is that vernacular subtleties and colloquial humor get completely lost in translation. It’s nigh unto impossible to phrase things with just the right nuances to ensure that people do not misinterpret or become offended [hey, that's hard enough to do in our own native languages!]. So, eventually, [because this is the world-wide web] “Zoe” discovered my comment and replied in a way that may or may not have been meant to but appeared a tad angry, stating that she certainly did “not steal” my photo, she simply enjoys sharing photos on her site that she thinks are nice and inspirational [that's actually very flattering]. Furthermore, [from what I could interpret],  “Zoe” happens to be the name of her little baby who died whom she is now honoring [um...that's really sad, and awkward].  I planned to copy her comment, so that more adept Spanish readers could accurately interpret her words, however her comment has since been removed from the page [either by the moderator, or by the woman herself, I don't know].

Anyway, my reply to her yesterday [intended to be worded very kind & sincerely congenial] was basically not to worry, I’m not mad, I wish I had thought about branding the photo way when I shared it, but that’s life. Greetings from Utah!:

~~~

Provo High School Seminary Building

Provo High School Seminary Building (Photo credit: benmckune)

Turns out, this is not the only version / use of our nuptial image traversing the universe. It’s been used as a teaching tool to promote LDS Temple Marriage to Mormon teens [not to mention the eternal benefit of 80's hairstyles and puff sleeves]. A girl in my Mormon ward (congregation) recently told me about a lesson her Seminary teacher was giving about temple marriage when a certain wedding photo was displayed in his slide show of an oddly familiar looking [or, just oddly looking] bride and groom in front of the Salt Lake Temple. She said it sort of “freaked” her out when she realized who it was [yeah, seeing our young skinny selves sort of freaks us out, too].  Laughing, she now says she didn’t know if she should be embarrassed [for us, or her?] or be entertained.

Oh, go on, be entertained! :)

Here’s the thing. My blog has now been viewed well over 600,000 times since it’s birth (celebrating 5 years next month). But, our photos aren’t “constrained” to their original locations. Anyone, anywhere, can find them and see them (and possibly copy them). If you were to go to Google Images today and type in “Wedding Mormon” or “Mormon Wedding” or “Mormon+Wedding”, my wedding photo happens to be in the top 10 results (in fact, I see it’s the 2nd most popular on one search, which makes me laugh). So naturally, the photo is “out there”. It happens.

A map from a live feed of the traffic on my blog: Mormon Soprano Maploco

Hello! Thank you for attending our wedding. Your presence is our gift, (but we won’t turn down some cash). ;)

[NOTE: I added this tool a few years after I created the blog]

I always think:  “WHO ARE all these people?!” I’ll never know, but, I think it’s very cool they’ve stumbled onto my site, several on purpose and repeatedly, and apparently many have also “attended” my wedding!

(Mom will be so glad we didn’t have to feed all of you!)

English: Screenshot of Alice from the trailer ...

English: Screenshot of Alice from the trailer for the film Alice in Wonderland (1951). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was a brand new blogger, I was simply doing exactly what “Zoe’s mommy” did/does. Sharing any video, stories and photos that I liked and thought were inspiring, hoping other people might like and think they are inspiring, too. I’ve only recently attempted the “branding” idea of my personal photos, and pondering “piracy deterrents”, [also trying to be more careful not to become a pirate, or infringe on other people's copyrights]. I don’t know if there’s ever a true solution for this issue as we travel on the open information highway. Any ideas?

Just like Alice said, life gets “curiouser and curiouser“.

I remembered reading a story a few years back about an American family Christmas photo randomly used to advertise Czech groceries. The Mom, Danielle, blogged about her Stolen Photo. Her story became a national and international news sensation. Is there a technical name for viral photos turned viral blog posts turned viral news?!

How about “The Domino Virus Effect“?

I find myself feeling just about the same way Danielle expressed

“Interesting.  Bizarre. Flattering, I suppose.  But quite creepy.”

I would add “weird”, “mind-boggling”, and a “bit funny” to her list.

Computers Monitor

Computers Monitor (Photo credit: yum9me)

Computers are seriously the most fascinating and freaky invention of all time. With the advent of the internet, we became modern pioneers trekking across a vast, untapped and “unplugged” frontier. I can “enter” this virtual land, and I can use it and live in it every day, but it’s still beyond my scope of human comprehension. We’ve been given the power to travel the world without ever leaving our armchair. We see people without ever meeting, touch people without ever physically connecting, and speak our mind to the masses without ever opening our mouths.

The consequences and possibilities are both frighteningly and miraculously endless.

Meanwhile…I remember an unusually balmy December day in 1989 when two ridiculously young & blissfully happy newlyweds had their photos taken outside the beautiful Salt Lake City Temple where they were sealed for Time and All Eternity. Those kids couldn’t have possibly imagined that in 20+ years hundreds, [even thousands], of people they didn’t know, and would never meet, [and were possibly not even born yet] living in countries and continents all around the world, would be traveling back in virtual time to see them, celebrate their special moment, and even to be inspired.

~~~

Oh yes, by the way. According to this page link , my site has had at least one visit from the “Holy See (Vatican City State)” . Huh. So there you go. Even the Pope himself may have attend my Mormon wedding [hey, come on, you never know]! – MoSop

~~~~~~~~~~~~

This Post Was Spotlighted:

10/25/12 LDS Living Magazine: My Mormon Wedding Went Viral…

10/29/12 Deseret News: Today In The Bloggernacle: The Temple Wedding Photo That Went Viral

22 thoughts on “My Mormon Wedding Went Viral, and I Think The Pope Attended

  1. Pingback: My Mormon Wedding Went Viral, and I Think The Pope Attended …

    • Veronica, excellent question which I probably should have addressed in the post. You can do this in any photo editing program. I personally like picmonkey.com, however, Picasa, or or any number of others will work fine. Be sure to “save as” so you don’t lose your original, and it is recommended to save your watermarked photo in a low resolution format, which also discourages “borrowers”.

  2. A lady in my state visited the local IKEA store and in the photo frames display, there was her FAMILY PHOTO! It was “taken” from her facebook page and used commercially.

  3. Thanks for sharing this story! (I found you through the Bloggernacle, by the way.) I smiled, shook my head, stared in amazement, felt sadness for Zoe’s mom (and wondered if that part was true) did a virtual High 5 when you showed up in a seminary lesson, and then stopped to think through what I have and am going to post. First, is it mine to post? Second, if not, can I get permission? If not, do I ‘brand’ something I don’t own? And, last, before I post, I will decide if it would be OK if it showed up in the Vatican!

  4. Pingback: Today in the Bloggernacle: The temple wedding photo that went viral |

  5. Pingback: Today in the Bloggernacle: The temple wedding photo that went viral | 1st Generation Band

  6. I am not sure how I would react if I had one of my pictures or stories go viral. I think at first I might be extremely excited that someone thought “my stuff” was that interesting. Followed immediately with the horror of knowing that lots of people were seeing “my stuff” and judging it. I don’t even know if I can fathom the roller coaster ride of emotions that would go with this kind of experience. Thanks for sharing just a portion of how your ride has been so far.

  7. Hi MoSop, i am guilty of saving photos i liked from the internet but I have never posted any unless “I took them” or someone I know. Having said that your experience is amazing! We live in Brisbane and my wife and I were married 21 years ago in the Sydney Australia Temple. We are members but we may never meet. So here I am, on my Ipad (in my livingroom) reading your blog. My family just saw the tv report on the damage hurricane Sandy is inflicting in NY and surranding Areas while my wife is helping our middle child with his homework. So many things connect us and yet you and I are complete estrangers. How odd!

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