The LDS online community, LDSFriends.com, created Internet posters around a few brief moments of a man who simply smiled at the cameras during General Conference. These posters were quickly passed around via email, blogs, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media sites, which helped create an overnight Internet sensation.
Online PR News – 22-April-2011 – – Salt Lake City, Utah April, 21, 2011 -- It was a simple smile but thousands of members of the LDS church around the world saw it. Most smiled back at the TV, but many were too busy laughing. A campaign by http://www.LDSFriends.com publicized the smile by creating images that they coined General Conference Posters. The posters went viral on Facebook and other social networking sites within a matter of hours.
It started at April’s General Conference broadcast, during the last session on Sunday. A young man turned to face the camera and smiled. LDSFriends.com seeing the humor in his smile created posters displaying what he did, and asked their website readers and Facebook friends to submit captions.
The posters can be found at http://www.ldsfriends.com/general-conference-posters/.
Soon people started linking to the General Conference Posters, adding them as their profile picture on Facebook, and posting them on their blogs. One blog commenter shared, "I'm not sure whether the posters or the comments are funnier." Many people also emailed the posters to their family and friends.
Paul Wilson, co-owner of LDSFriends.com ( http://www.LDSFriends.com ), saw a considerable bump in his website traffic due to these posters. "The first day we shared our General Conference posters our site traffic went up by 2,000%. The second day we saw a 14,000% increase from what we normally get in a single day. Most of the people who visited our website in the first few days came from Facebook. However, by the end of the week we were getting visitors from all over the Internet."
It was almost two weeks after the posters were launched that LDSFriends.com tracked down the man. His name is Dan Smith. LDSFriends.com interviewed him to find out what he was thinking and how he was able to time his smile so perfectly.
Smith, a member living in Australia, visited Utah to watch General Conference live. He says he didn’t mean to be disrespectful, but he did hear from someone at Church headquarters. "It wasn't a prank. I got up out of my seat and saw my head on the two big screens and turned around and smiled. I didn't think anything of it. I received an email from the big dog that is in charge of filming the general conference. They weren't impressed. I didn't do it to be funny, but glad people enjoyed it. I hope it wasn't disrespectful, because I really enjoy all the talks at general conference. Just being in the same room with the prophet was awesome," he said.
Intentional or not, Smith has become an LDS Internet sensation. He even received a marriage proposal from the Youtube commenter krispygirl15 who simply said, "I love you smiling guy!? Marry me!!!! :)." In seven words, four explanation points, and one smiley face this Internet user seems to highlight much of the magic and excitement behind Smith’s smile, and maybe offer a little insight at why it was so popular.
- The three second video showing Dan looking into the camera: http://www.ldsfriends.com/a-general-conference-surprise-the-smiling-kid-at-the-end/
Interview with Dan Smith (video): http://www.ldsfriends.com/interviewing-the-smiling-guy-at-general-conference/
LDS Friends on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/LDSFriendscom
LDSFriends.com focuses on connecting the LDS community through blogs, profiles, chat rooms, groups, forums, and LDS themed crowd sourcing projects.
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