Monday, March 10, 2014
"More fun than a barrel of monkeys - if the barrel of monkeys had an iPhone, a dubious past and a questionable attitude."
The one constant in Candace's ever-evolving career has been change. She has, at various times, been employed as a go-go dancer, a rock concert promoter, an advertising and PR executive, an interior designer, a journalist, and a social media monger. The one job she has been yet to abandon for the next big thing is motherhood.
She was formerly the editorial director at Running Times magazine and Editor-at-Large at Maine Home+Design. Most recently, in addition to her ongoing social media and design work at 3C Media, Candace has worked as Lifestyle Commentator & Favorite Foodie for the 1200 farm family owners of Cabot Creamery Cooperative. That job takes her around the country and deep into the Internet, extolling the virtues of "The World's Best Cheddar."
A recovering road runner with 19 marathons to her credit, Candace is now ridiculously devoted to her fitness family at CrossFit Beacon. Another branch of her extended family is located at 522 Congress Street at the Maine College of Art (MECA). Her most slavish devotion, however, is reserved for her bewilderingly eccentric family of record, most notably her three extraordinary children and her two embarrassingly small dogs.
The party elf, hacking AOL, and on adoring social media
As with most of my interviews, what you'll read here is a greatly condensed version of our conversation.
"We had kind of an inter-office Facebook when I worked at an advertising agency. I was the hub of social media then. I was called 'the party elf,' among other things, and we had memos that went back and forth to each other internally which were hilarious. That's kind of how we shared things. It was just within our agency so there were 75-80 people and we had a lot of fun with it. It evolved kind of like a Twitter or Facebook, without any visuals. This was right before the earth cooled, so it was 1981 or 1982."
"I've been on Twitter since 2007 maybe? I was on Facebook at right around the same time. I remember getting a Facebook account because I had a MECA email address and that was back when you had to have a .edu address. For someone of my generation, I was an early adopter."
"I took to social media like a fish to water. I had a very early AOL account, which I have to this day. It's kind of embarrassing. It's like an antique and I won't get rid of it because of that. It's just kind of kitschy to have my AOL account. Very early on when my son was about seven or eight years old, I got him an AOL account. Actually, he was using our account. Funny story ... early one day we got a call and it was from AOL. A phone call from AOL, and they said, 'We're suspending your account.' I asked, 'Why would you do that?' They replied, 'Because, you've hacked into our private employee administrative spaces.' So, my son and I had a little conversation. I called AOL back and told them that they could definitely suspend the account but they needed to know that this was a ten year old who got in there. I said that we would certainly deal with that on our end, but they might want to think about strengthening their security. They were pretty cute about it, and they didn't suspend the account."
"I think because I had kids, or at least one child, who was very interested in social media, he has taught me everything I know. I like to say that I gave birth to my own IT guy."
"I'm really lucky that I have a good and close relationship with all of my kids and always have. We've always had very open communication so I wasn't worried about them being online or using social media. Although, there was one interesting lesbian vampire incident. I mean, I was paying attention and I was online but there was not nearly as much access and exposure back then for me to worry about."
"I go through phases with social media. I'm really into Facebook now. I'm on there a lot because of work. I find access to people's blogs. I use Facebook as kind of a portal. It's kind of like an RSS feed along with a bunch of other stuff. But, during awards season my absolute favorite is Twitter. Because, there is nothing more hilarious than getting online and sitting down for the Golden Globes or any other big awards show. But I don't know if I could say which social media platform I love the most. It's like a mother with her kids."
What do you like about social media?
"I adore social media. It has made my life so much richer. It's perfect for an introvert because you can engage on your own time and in your own way. Big parties often drain me before they're over, or often before they ever get started. But, I'm right in the middle of the party on social media. I also work from home, when I'm not traveling, so it's my water cooler. It's my connection with the outside world. Otherwise, I'd be a hermit. Social media works very much like my office, my colleagues, my mates."
"I have a few passions in life—art, fitness and food. All of those things are enhanced by my use of social media."
What do you dislike about social media?
"So, here's my take on this question. There is nothing about social media that I don't like. There are douchey people on social media, but social media itself is a tool. It's not a person or a personality, it's a tool. It's like saying, 'I don't like this hammer because the building didn't come out right.'"
"I love social media. Social media employs me. Social media connects me to people I love. Social media connects me to larger political ideas. Social media connects me to what's happening in the world. Social media expands my views and how I think about things. I love social media. I would be devastated if I didn't have social media."
"I loathe to blame social media for problems that have already existed forever."
What would it be like for you to disconnect from social media for six months?
"I would hate it. It would be very upsetting for me because it would cut me off from people. There are certain people in my life who I've probably not even met in person, who I would not have access to. I'm not sitting around playing Candy Crush Saga, I'm having real conversations and real interactions with people who I care about. So, to say that I couldn't do that for six months would be really terrible."
If you could only use three words to describe social media, what would they be?
"Connection. Passion. Fun."
Is there a person or brand that you think uses social media effectively?
"There are so many people and brands I follow and admire on social media, it would be foolish of me to single any one of them out. I will say, and this is no direct credit to me, that the social media team at Cabot really gets it right. I am one cog in a finely crafted online machine. Cabot has had a social media presence for many years; they really were one of the first brands to venture into this realm. For authenticity, thoughtfulness, responsiveness, and just plain fun, you can't go wrong following Cabot."
I want to thank Candace for taking the time to talk with me about her opinions on, and experience with, social media.
You can find Candace on Facebook at: candacekaru
You can find Candace on Twitter at: @candacekaru
You can find Candace on Instagram at: candacekaru
You can find Candace on Pinterest at: candacekaru
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).