Wednesday February 20, 2013 | 09:15 AM
Friendster, sparkle GIFs, and lusty emails from mysterious ladies ...
I met up with Sean at Might & Main’s new offices in the Old Port at 8:00 a.m. on a cold Wednesday morning. I am not a morning person. However, Sean gave me good coffee in front of a real fire in a real fireplace. The whole 8:00 a.m.-thing suddenly didn’t seem so bad after all. Plus, we had a great talk and Sean always makes me laugh.
As with most of my interviews, what you’ll read here is a greatly condensed version of our conversation.
Tell me about your first experiences with social media.
“I’ve been connected to the Internet since I was in sixth or seventh grade. We had Prodigy, which was a simple email server. I could trade emails with my friends and that seemed cool. My friend and I also hacked into his dad’s account and read his lusty emails to mysterious ladies.”
“I moved out to Seattle for a couple of years, and when I was out there Friendster kind of cropped up. It was like an early proto-MySpace. There seemed to be a lot of emphasis on dating, or maybe that was just me at the time.”
"I remember MySpace coming along and being kind of cautious of it. But then it seemed like MySpace was kind of a cooler version of Friendster. Then, Facebook came. By that time Friendster was long gone. And then I had another moment of caution with Facebook. Obviously, I got over that. I stayed on MySpace for a good, long time and kept two accounts. The only reason MySpace really continued to exist was because Facebook didn’t incorporate music. I had a band for a few years and we had a MySpace profile for the band. We had to. It was the only way we could book shows. And, you could do more ‘sparkle GIFs’ on MySpace.”
What do you like about social media?
“I feel like since I started using Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and, now Vine, I have a real connection to the 1,700 or so people that I’m connected with. Not close connections with all of them obviously. But my favorite thing about Facebook is I really feel like there’s a community there. I don’t know how I’d feel connected to those people if it wasn’t for Facebook. I mean, I have friends in every state, including Hawaii and Alaska. It’s a crazy, great network of people—college friends, Seattle friends, AIGA friends—and I can throw a question out there like, ‘My water heater is broken. What do I do?’ And, I’ll get answers and real help. Or I can just post a picture of my dog and get a bunch of reactions to it.”
“I love Instagram for the fact that when I post something I know it’s going to look a little better if I get the chance to crop it, give it a little focus, and put a filter on it or whatever. I like the fact that it lets me do that. I use the same filter on almost everything. Then I have this catalogue of images that all make sense together. As a designer and a visual person, it’s pleasing for me to go back and look at this collection of photos for the year. I look at Instagram photos more than I look at photos I take with my expensive DSLR, because they pop-up in my feed and on my phone. It’s so easy and it’s attached to a timeline.”
What do you dislike about social media?
"If complaining about a person is only thinly veiled on Facebook, then it’s inappropriate. And if that person does read it then they have a right to be offended. You know, talk to me if you’re upset. Don’t post it on social media for everybody to see. I‘ve pulled back, for years now, on that kind of venting. It’s really tiresome when I see people being so passive-aggressive on social media.”
“There are people that I see post really candid, negative stuff about their clients. I just don’t get that. Even if I felt that way, and I don’t, I would never do that. I mean, how do these people know that their clients aren’t going to see that? I just don’t get it.”
“I’ve heard people say that the last thing Portland needs is social media. It already seems like everybody knows each other and now even more so. I also heard someone say about the dating scene in Portland, you don’t break up with someone; you just lose your turn. Sometimes it seems like the last thing Portland needs are dating sites and Facebook on top of that. I mean, I know what you had for breakfast this morning for God’s sake. And, if people want to use it in the wrong ways, it’s so easy. I’m glad I’m not single.”
Is there a person or brand who you think uses social media effectively?
“Let me just say that all of my clients are doing a great job.”
I want to thank Sean for taking the time to talk with me and share his experience with, and opinions about, social media.
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