If you haven't seen the meme for the "Ridiculously Photogenic Guy" that has gone viral since Tuesday when it was posted on Reddit, you're certainly missing a moment in digital history proving the power of viral social media.
The ridiculously good-looking guy in the photo is Zeddie Little, a 25-year-old man who was running at the Cooper River Bridge Run in South Carolina and had his photo taken. The photo was then placed on Reddit, a social news sharing website, and viewed by the likes of some one million people within the first day on Flickr, not including Reddit users.
Now, the world seems to know Little, and every detail about him, like the fact he is the fifth person to be named "Zeddie Little," according to the Charleston City Paper.
But someone had to take that photo and post it on Reddit before it became a sensation. So, who is the man behind the photo of the "Ridiculously Photogenic Guy?"
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"My mind is still blown that this one picture I took has shaped a part of the internet subculture," said Will King, the man who established "Ridiculously Photogenic Guy."
King, a 28-year old Systems Analyst at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), told IBTimes that he went to Mt. Pleasant, S.C. to photograph a few of his friends in the race. He took over 600 photos that day and chose 100 photos to upload to his Flickr account but the photo of Little particularly stood out.
"The reason I picked him out to focus in on was because I could see him weaving through the crowd looking pretty excited whereas many others around him were already exhausted by that point," King said.
As the story goes, King posted the photo on Flickr and a friend commented on Facebook, "I dub this picture 'Mr Ridiculously Photogenic Guy,'" prompting King, an occasional Reddit user, to post it on the site with an explanation. However, never did he imagine it would blow up.
"It was extremely surprising for me that this photo went viral. I have posted my own photos to Reddit in the past, but before this the most successful one only accumulated about 1,000 views the day I posted it," King said.
So far, King has not created any meme captions for his photo yet and is in awe at how many memes there are out there currently.
"I was shocked to see so many crop up after the first day," King said. "If ever I think up of a good idea I try to post it as a meme, but with how fast Reddit moves it's not surprising when I check to see that someone has already posted the same thing earlier."
"I've tried creating a few meme images from other pictures and have even had one or two hit the front page before, but they were still nowhere near as popular as my Photogenic Guy photo."
The photo was so popular on the Internet, currently at over 1.3 million views, that King had to seek out the man in the photo, which he did through Reddit.
"My Reddit post about searching for him was me thinking that perhaps a Redditor knew him and could let him know that a photograph of him was pretty popular on the site," King said.
With success from Reddit, King and Little did get to speak, but online, naturally.
"I did actually have a short chat with him over Facebook, but he has told me that he would like to lie low for now," King said about Little.
The image taken by King has been so popular that it gained traction with nearly 3,000 memes created since Tuesday on QuickMeme.com, some of which read, "Goes for a jog, whole town follows him" and "Extra in movie, Most important character." However, King does not believe it will ever be as popular as the "Success Kid," a toddler holding a fist full of sand at the camera.
"Right now I'm doubtful that it will reach the popularity of Success Kid," King said. "I have already been seeing some backlash on Reddit of people tired of the meme already."
Some of the backlash on Reddit questions the authenticity of the photo, as many users say King altered the photo to create the "ridiculously photogenic" portion. However, King maintains that the photo was not heavily edited, and that Little is indeed that photogenic.
"I did have to tweak the photo just a little," King said. "Since the sun was behind him he originally came out underexposed in the initial image. I boosted his exposure so he wasn't covered in shadow."
But will King profit off of his photo by creating his own website dedicated to the popular meme? He's already on top of that.
"One of my friends has actually registered a domain, and this was back before things escalated outside of Reddit," he said. "Just a crazy idea I've had is to put together a photo series about 'Mr. Ridiculously Photogenic Guy Does Something Mundane.' Basically pictures of Zeddie writing a check, folding socks, deciding between 1% and 2% milk, things of that nature."
The site hasn't gone live yet, but King hopes that maybe he and Zeddie Little can collaborate on the project.
"I don't think there is anything up there yet, but if we do end up putting something together I would love to work with Zeddie on it," King said.
However, Will King said that Zeddie Little, who has sparked the interest of countless people around the world -- mainly women -- since the meme was created, is lying low as an Internet celebrity.
When asked if he will ever become Little's agent, since he is now famous, King laughed, saying, "[That] would be awesome."
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