Sunday, April 20, 2014
Amanda is also the organizer of Social Media Breakfast Maine (SMBME) and vice president, board of directors, Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM).
She's also a dog owner and a proud new mom.
Sketchy chat rooms, pregnancy privacy and Sesame Street.
I met Amanda several years ago and she is, without a doubt, one of my favorite people in Maine. I initially met her the way I've met many of my close friends, on Twitter. I have tremendous respect for Amanda both personally and professionally. Her husband Adam is pretty awesome too, disregarding his penchant for velcro and reversible clothing. And, I'm not even going to get into the adorable-factor of their son.
As with most of my interviews, what you'll read here is a greatly condensed version of our conversation.
What was your first experience with social media?
"My first use of social media was before it was called social media. I grew up on Peaks Island, a small island community, especially during the winter. That's where I first discovered chat rooms. So, you would log in and your modem would screech at you, and it was all text-based. It was the first time I felt like I could connect with other people by interest. I'd find a chat room that was about music, or sports, or whatever. You got to know people without knowing anything about them. And, these were not AOL chat rooms, they were just like sketchy chat rooms. You didn't know what people looked like or who they hung out with, but you could talk about the things that were of interest to you. Then, once I tried to go meet some of these people. I took a girlfriend with me and it was horrible! They were scary. Some people are better kept online."
"I remember using these chat rooms and having this big, 'AHA!, I'm not stuck on this island with nothing to do and no one to talk to,' moment. All of a sudden, I could connect with people I didn't know by what we were interested in."
"I went to college and moved around a little bit and when I was planning on moving back to Portland, I had that, "I grew up there, what a loser I am moving back to where I'm from," thinking. I feel very fortunate that this was at the same time that Twitter started getting very popular because I met this whole group of people that I would not have met otherwise. I could have come back and just run with the same crowd, but because of Twitter I, again, met a bunch of people who were interested in the same things that I was and I formed great friendships. It was a really cool way to meet other people who were into being active, or who were dog owners, or who were into music or into nightlife. This is how I made my grown-up friend-base."
What do you like about social media?
"My favorite thing is the connectedness. From text-based chat rooms to sharing Facebook pages, now sharing photos and really being able to keep up with people. I get to see pictures of my friends' children or you can share funny pictures of your pets and I think that's neat. It's a great way to keep up with people."
"It's funny though, when you sit down with a friend and ask them how things are going and they tell you, you're like, "I saw that on Facebook—oh yeah, I know, I saw that ... oh yeah I know, I saw that ... oh yeah, I know, I saw that—it's pretty funny."
"Some of my closest friends that I've met through work are from social media. I consider them good friends and they're great relationships to have. And, it's an easier relationship to maintain. Where it once would have taken the effort of many check-in phone calls, which may never have happened, now it can happen through Facebook and Twitter. I mean, I'm horrible with the phone. My voicemail isn't even set up yet and it hasn't been for months. People must get so annoyed with me."
"Facebook is really the catch-all. I think it's great. I have a lot going on and it makes it easy because everyone is there. Everyone is in one spot. It's like that Christmas letter that everyone used to put in their cards. You can just cover everything. Plus, if we're connected on Facebook it means that I have a personal relationship with you."
What do you dislike about social media?
"The same things I like I also don't like. There is a privacy barrier that's being broken down. For myself, I'm pretty public and I do a lot in the community but there are still certain aspects of my life that I want to keep private. Like my pregnancy was private. It was a very personal thing and people were really upset that I wasn't sharing about it. I just felt like, when I've had the baby and I'm ready to talk about it, I will tell you. For me, having a child was a super-personal thing. So, the expectation that people are going to get full access to my life is something I don't like. It's a little scary for me."
"When I look at younger people, even family members, I don't know if they even know what privacy means. They post anything and everything. They feel like they're invincible, like nothing is ever going to hurt them or touch them."
What would it be like for you to disconnect from social media for six months?
"I think I would be a little anxious. Social media is a big way that I get my information so that would be hard. I think I would survive but I think I would be a little anxious. We're never bored anymore. When you're standing in line waiting for something or walking down the street, you're checking Facebook or tweeting about something. It would be interesting to remember what it was like to just stand somewhere and be somewhere without checking in on social media."
Is there a person or brand that you think uses social media effectively?
"Locally, I like Portland Trails @portlandtrails. They mix beautiful photos with good content with activism and education."
"Nationally, I have a huge crush on Sesame Street @sesamestreet. They come up with relevant and fun content for parents and kids and seem to have a blast doing it."
I want to thank Amanda for taking the time to talk with me about her opinions on, and experience with, social media.
You can find Amanda on Twitter at: @amanda_pants
You can find her blog at: The Way Life Goes
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.
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).