Friday February 22, 2013 | 08:30 AM
Posted by Rob Gould
 
Text-based role-playing games, cyber-sex, and puffy poet shirts

I met Allie a few years ago, the same way I’ve met most of my friends in Portland, on Twitter. We also share some mutual friends, so we eventually met through them in real life. We have been very close friends ever since. Allie is a riot. She makes me laugh out loud every time I'm with her. With KD Lang blaring in the background, we sat down at Starbucks to talk, and the rest is history.

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.

"You know it's funny, and this is sort of a stretch, but in the early nineties when I went to college and had my first Internet connection that was my own, I got really sucked into the world of online text-based role-playing games. Have you ever played Zork? When the Internet came about people took the Zork format and you could go on this adventure online. By typing simple sentences and commands into your computer you could do certain very basic things. There were also all of these other people playing. It's probably what World of Warcraft would be if there were no graphics and just text. It was 1994 and it was all just sentences. It was text-based entirely and there were no graphics. But for the first time I was able to interact with other people on the Internet. So that was really the first thing I did. I mean, I moved on to bulletin boards and chat rooms but that was really the first."

"Picture it, it's 1995 and Allie was a freshman in college. Then I completely got kicked out of college. Of course, a big part of it was that I was spending all of my time on the Internet playing these text-based role-playing games. You'd meet people and form relationships, so of course there was also Allie's first cyber-sex in 1995. There was this one guy that I met, and I had this seeming connection with, and he lived in New Hampshire. He was this British guy. He told me he was going to come visit me. So, he came to visit me, and I'm not kidding, he was wearing a puffy poet shirt. Like, a Jerry Seinfeld puffy poet shirt. And, he brought a copy of his 'screenplay.' I still have that 'screenplay' somewhere in a Ziploc bag, marked "didn't work out." I saw him and we hung out for a little while, and then he was like, ‘I'll come back later.’ So, I locked myself in my dorm room and didn't answer the door when he came back. He finally jammed his ‘screenplay’ under the door and left. So, I don't even remember your name, but you're out there somewhere and I'm so sorry. I was such a bitch, but I just didn't know what to do. I mean, he was wearing a puffy poet shirt."

What do you like about social media?

"The best thing about social media is, even though puffy poet shirt didn't work out, meeting people I wouldn't have otherwise met. I've lived in the Portland area since 1996. After 14 years of being here I felt like I knew everyone. When I started using Twitter a few years ago I started meeting people I had never seen before. I met this whole group of people who I kind of fell in love with. I made all these really amazing friends who were people completely outside of my sphere. I had no idea they lived here in Portland. If it hadn't been for Twitter, I never would have met them. Now, some of my very best friends are people I've met from Twitter. I even got my current job through the people I met on Twitter."

"I also love the access. Social media gives you access to the people in your neighborhood, which has been awesome and definitely my favorite part. But, I’ve also had celebrity re-tweets before. C'mon, how exciting is that? I mean, not like big-time celebrities, but Felicia Day totally re-tweeted one of my tweets one time which was amazing."

What do you dislike about social media?

"One thing I dislike about social media, and how it's affected me personally, is I have a need for immediacy now. I post something and I immediately wonder how it's doing. What kind of reaction is it getting? Or, I tweet to someone and immediately start thinking, 'why didn't they tweet me back?’ That sort of need I have now for immediate response is something I don't really admire about myself and something I don't really like that has come along with social media."

"Because of that sense of immediacy that I mentioned, people get an inflated sense of how important the things that they're doing are, and because of that, they over-share. I do think we're becoming an over-sharing culture and nothing is private anymore. I don't love that. Even though I'm very candid about a lot of things, there are certain things that I don't talk about. I wish that everyone did that. I don't think it will happen. I don't think there will be a cultural pullback where people start keeping things private again. I just know that I don't want my mom, or my boss, or that guy I met at a party a couple of weeks ago, to know, for example, that my relationship is falling apart. I just don't. There are some things that are personal that I think should be kept personal."

I want to thank Allie for taking the time to talk with me and share her experience with, and opinions about, social media.

You can find Allie on Twitter at @broke207

You can find her blog at Broke 207

 

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Social media has changed the way that many of us learn, purchase, interact and explore the world around us. And, things are just getting started. Social, Social is a place to discuss social media with people from all walks of life. No experts allowed.

About the Author

Rob works as a digital marketing & public relations consultant to agencies, brands, and individuals. He has 20 years of marketing experience. He also currently serves in a volunteer capacity as director of pr/communications for TEDxDirigo. From 2005-2011, Rob served as director of social media & agency communications at The VIA Agency (Portland). Prior to VIA, Rob worked with several PR & advertising agencies in London & Boston. He is a graduate of The University of Vermont (UVM) and a Maine transplant (2002).

Follow Rob on Twitter at @bobbbyg

His real-life interests include art, travel, writing, design, psychology, the beach, & exercise (grudgingly at times).

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