Tuesday May 21, 2013 | 09:00 AM
Posted by Rob Gould

Andrew is a senior at the University of Southern Maine (USM), Class of 2014, where he has also served as a resident assistant and admissions ambassador in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

From 2005 - 2009 Andrew was a student at David Glasgow Farragut (high school) in Rota, Spain.

Today's themes are: The O.C., having a "social media timer," and on not Keeping up with the Kardashinans.

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 experience with social media was AOL instant messenger. I think I was in the seventh grade. I was kind of behind the times when I got it. All of my friends already had it. Where I grew up in midcoast Maine they held regular seventh and eighth grade dances and people would meet up and exchange AOL screen names. I never had one, so I finally made one up. I found it hard to keep up. Talking with twenty people at once can be overwhelming. My icon was a show like The O.C. or something like that. That show was really popular at the time. It was also the first time I ever remember seeing a GIF. It was a GIF from The O.C."

"In 2005, when I was 15 and a freshman in high school, I moved to Spain with my family. On the third day I was in Spain, I can remember going to a computer in hotel lobby and signing up for a MySpace account. I used it for about three years, until I was a junior. At the time it was 'the thing.' I went to an American high school and everyone was using it. When my friends and I were seniors we all got Facebook accounts. It just exploded for all of the American students. MySpace and MSN were still definitely the big things in Europe though."

"I got my Twitter and Tumblr accounts my sophomore year of college when I was back in the States at USM. Everything else—Vine, Instagram, etc.— came just this year. I love Instagram and my Tumblr is mostly filled with photographs too. I love photographs and I love looking at art. But, I would never want to major in photography because I don't like being told what to do. You don't see what I see. It's all very amateur for me. My Instagram is photos that I take myself and my Tumblr are other people's images that I share."

"I think celebrities need to get off of Instagram. I like the Kardashians, but I hate seeing the them on Instagram. I mean, we get the point. You're going to all of these great places and doing all of these great things. Whatever. It's a little much."

If you could change something about social media, what would it be?

"I'd love to have a timer. Both for me and everyone else."

"I wouldn't want to see more social media outlets. I think we're already stretched."

What do you like about social media and how has it changed the world for college students?

"Social media really urges students to do more exploring and expand our horizons. You can meet people from all around the world. This is especially important in Maine where we can be a little sheltered. It puts you in touch with the great big world out there. I think that's important."

"As a resident assistant I know I see a lot of stuff on social media that I wouldn't necessarily see otherwise. I mean, you can't pretend you don't have an animal in your room if you've posted photos of it on Facebook. I mean, c'mon. And, you know I have to do something about it. That's just stupid."

"I really like being able to connect to lots of different people. I also like being able to just search around and find different articles about things that I want to learn more about. Twitter is great for research. It's great for history and news and just articles in general. I like how you can just search on Twitter and you're able to get both sides to a story. It saves you from having to look through web sites or newspapers. I usually start with CNN's account first and then go to the accounts associated with local newspapers. I also always try to find the opposite side of a story so I can see it from all sides."

"I love Instagram because I feel like I don't have to cater to anyone there. On Facebook I feel pressure sometimes to be a certain way because all of my friends are right there. With Instagram I feel like I can post what I really want and just walk away. I can really be myself."

What do you dislike about social media?

"The biggest thing that I hate about social media is that although it makes us social online, it doesn't necessarily make us social in person. That's a big thing for me. I hate when I'm having dinner with people and everyone is on their phone. I don't like how lazy people have become about meeting, and getting to know, new people in real life. I also feel like people have become really bad with social cues in person. That's sad."

"It can encourage people to withdraw. People can often become hermits—really attached to their phones. I feel like people sometimes aren't as open to going to social gatherings as they may have been before social media. I like to spend time with real people so this bothers me."

"Things can often be misunderstood online and disagreements can happen. Someone will post something and I'll ask them about it and they'll respond, 'how come you're always in my business?' I'll wonder, 'Well, then why did you post it on Facebook?' That just doesn't make sense."

"People can also get really negative on social media. I feel like there is a time and place for people to vent and it's not always appropriate to post that stuff all over social media. And, there's a big difference between posting something on Facebook vs. Twitter. Twitter is so open that it feels more anonymous, while Facebook is usually people that you actually know. They're completely different."

What would it be like for you to disconnect from social media for six months?

"It would be hard. The whole reason I bought an iPhone was so I could do Instagram, and now it's made all of social media easier to use. Without social media I would have to make a huge effort to call or see everyone I wanted to catch up with. I also use social media to find out what's going on in Portland. Without it, I feel like I'd have to check all the bulletin boards all over the city."

"Social media has definitely made our lives faster. So I wouldn't mind slowing down a bit."

"I would definitely feel uncomfortable and out-of-touch if I was the only one of my friends not using it."

If you could only use three words to describe social media, what would they be?

"Time-consuming. Fun. Immediate."

Is there a person or brand that you think uses social media effectively?

"I really like the Allagash Brewing Company's Instagram, @allagashbrewing. I love getting to look behind the scenes at what goes into making their beer."

"I also really like all of the stuff that LiveME does on social media. I love their Instagram, @LiveMaine, Twitter @LiveMaine, and Facebook."

"Finally, I think it's great that Holiday Inn Express responds to everything on Twitter @HIExpress. It really makes a difference."

I want to thank Andrew for taking the time to talk with me about his opinions on, and experience with, social media.

You can find Andrew on Twitter at: @a_cantillo

You can find Andrew on Instagram at: @a_cantillo

You can find Andrew on Tumblr at: dirtyyyponyyy

University of Southern Maine

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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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