Friday, July 3, 2015

Going Viral


The day after I posted on Facebook I got a message from our local news asking for permission to share the pictures and to ask a few questions.  She said they would broadcast the segment at 4 that afternoon. I left and went out to the lake with a bunch of my kids and their friends.

When I had coverage again and I checked my phone and saw that Candace Cameron Bure who is probably best known as DJ from the TV show Full House shared my post. There were over a thousand people in just one hour who had liked her share and the number of people who had shared my post was at almost 13,000 by the time I went to bed that night.

The producer from our local news checked in with me the following morning to see how my search was coming along and I told her about the help I'd gotten from Candace and checked the number of shares it had gotten. I was up to 30,000  and by noon it was at 60,000 and it had only been up for just over two days. The news came over and interviewed me at the house. That broadcast locally at 11 that night.

I began to get messages form the same news agency across the country but from different affiliates wanting to share and asking more questions. It went to Chicago, New York and Atlanta that I knew of and then someone from their online department wanted to run the story.  As I spoke with her she told me about the "other" box on Facebook where messages go from people you don't know. I had no idea!!
If the couple tried to reach out to me that's where it would go. I checked the box and there were literally hundreds of messages and I was going to need to read through each one just in case. The other funny thing that happened was my Facebook friend requests.  I was literally getting hundreds of those as well! Then I got a text from a friend of Wes showing that he'd tried sending me a Facebook friend request and had been denied because I had reached my limit of requests! I didn't even know that was a thing, but apparently when you reach 1000 requests no one can send you anymore until you respond to the ones in the box!
As I worked my way through the "other" messages inbox I was overwhelmed that so many people had taken time to say how great they thought it was what I was doing to try to find the couple. I was floored when I saw that more than half of them were from outside of the U.S.!  I have responded to every message that has come though that box and researched the various leads I've gotten though there. There was one that I got several messages about.  A woman had also posted on Facebook that her daughter had been proposed to on the Empire State Building and they didn't get any pictures of the engagement but that there were so many tourists there that witnessed the proposal and she was hoping to find someone who had gotten a picture.  She was asking people on Facebook for help.  Unfortunately the pictures she was hoping to get were from a different day, a different city, a different continent and a different landmark. It wasn't the couple I was looking for but it gave me hope.

As the messages come in, people from across the globe started sending me links to news broadcasts and articles that have been written and shared all over the world with my pictures.  I am still getting countless messages from various news agencies and journalists for interviews and to answer questions about the pictures every day. I am floored that the pictures and this story have spread so far  and so quickly. Never in a million years could I have guessed that so many people would even see my little post and care enough to make the effort to share! Its pretty cool to realize how many people out there are truly nice and want to help out where they can.
On the flip side there are a lot of people out there who didn't read any articles and criticized me for not giving the pictures to the couple immediately afterwards. If they had read the articles they might have known how impossible that would have been for me. They claimed I was a photographer just trying to get my name out there so I could make it big.  This one was laughable because I didn't even take the pictures with my good camera. I snapped them on my phone and unfortunately because of the hurry I was in some of them aren't as clear as they could be. But to jump to the conclusion that I was a photographer judging from these pictures was just funny to me. Then there are the claims that I'm just trying to get my 15 minutes in the spotlight. This is also ridiculous because it's not a picture of me that is circulating around, its not my vacation to France that I'm talking to anyone about, in fact people know so little of me that they assume I'm a photographer and don't know why I didn't get the pictures to the couple. The reason for this? Because it's not about ME! So many of my friends went online trying to defend me on these points, in fact so did a ton of strangers too. To those of you who did, thank you!
The only criticism I have no real answer to is that this was a private moment and I was rude and insensitive to witness, take pictures of it, and to blast them all over the world.  I did hesitate for a moment as I have said countless times, wondering if it was crazy to take pictures of strangers, but what made me do it anyway was the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have done to you.  If it was me I would want the pictures. If it was me I would be so grateful that someone captured that magical moment in my life.  Are there those out there that feel differently and would not want pictures and want to keep the moment private, yes there are for sure. There are plenty of reasons why someone wouldn't want these pictures and even more why they wouldn't want them shared. I do understand that, but overwhelmingly the response I've gotten from around the world is that there are many many more people out there like me who would just be grateful for the pictures. So I just hope that the couple in the pictures thinks and feels like me and most of the people commenting.

The pictures and how they came to be have now been shared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Inside Edition, and countless news broadcasts across the globe.  There are articles written in so many languages and countries it blows my mind. Popular ones like the Daily Mail, Reddit, Chive, It seems the whole world is looking out for these two and wondering who and where they are!


1 comment:

Kristie Finley said...

Those of us whom know the "Real" life Jen... know that you are an amazing, heartfelt woman on this earth. I'm so proud of your efforts in all of this and really hope to see the fairy tale ending... that this couple can someday look back 25 years from now and enjoy pictures of their romantic moment on the Eiffel Tower! Bless you my friend!