by Justin Phipps,
February brought the SIA on snow to Copper Mountain this winter. I got to hang with and make new friends this year. One, Matt Stillman from the Rome/SDS is totally in charge of all the cool internet stuff they do and I was really excited to visit with him again recently for this interview.
JP: So tell me what happened now? You went to the same college as Sully (Dan Sullivan) and next thing you know your head of Rome social media, is that about right?
Matt: Ha ha, that’s about right, maybe a little bit of an over simplification! I knew Justin (Cafiero), the guy who had the position before me so I think that helped a little but Sully and I going to the same school definitely helped a little bit too.
JP: Okay! So Cafiero held this position for awhile too and it was sort of his online thing and was that hard knowing you were the next guy?
Matt: Yeah, it was definitely a little weird cause he was like, so visible, you’d see and hear from him all the time. And stepping into those shoes, there were definitely some big ones to fill. So it was, I definitely thought about that during the time I was applying for the position.
JP: There’s a lot of Internet tough guys huh? How is it like when you know people are just trying to use the social media for their own selfish interests or personal gain?
Matt: Yeah, yeah that’s a daily battle! You know we have a term in the social media realm called ‘self marketing’ where everybody is in it for that reason. So it kinda comes down to walking a fine line of trying to promote things that are good for snowboarding at large or directly tied into the (Rome) brand. We try to really not make things as personal as possible. That’s just one of the daily challenges of life on the internet I suppose.
JP: Okay. So, to you, What exactly is an Internet troll?
Matt: (laughing) An internet troll is like a prankster. Somebody who’s just looking to cause trouble on the internet. I think they’re hilarious. We don’t really get trolled all that often on the Rome account. A lot of people when they reach out to us, they’re usually looking at trying to get something for free or they want us to help promote their stuff. I get a good kick out of trolls!!
JP: Okay. You’re making a life out of online media. And there’s a lot of mental labor going on. Do you get worn out reading feed and stuff all day? Does it kind of all look he same, and what do you try to do so it’s fresh for Rome enthusiasts?
Matt: Sure. You know sometimes I get a little, you know spending the day online and looking at Twitter or Facebook can get a little repetitive. I think in terms of trying to keep it fresh it’s more of keeping a diverse lineup of riders and content that is sort of relevant to what you’ve done in the last three weeks. So using that as a template to show what you can do as far as delivering new content or showing life through a different lens. We’ve seen so many trips and stories that have been played and played at this point that you want to find something novel or interesting, as you say.
JP: what’s the worst thing about the Internet as it relates to snowboarding?
Matt: Oooh, that’s a good one!! The worst thing about the internet as it relates to snowboarding, is probably.. people’s really crappy goPro footage. That really bums me out. I’m all about people filming and having a great time, but when there’s a goPro edit that’s just, like, really shaky… I mean I think people should have fun and when your riding that’s great but people are just claiming things too hard! Trying to get you to repost their stuff, that’s my least favorite.
JP: Okay, that’s actually kinda funny.
Matt: Ha, what do you think about the whole goPro movement?
JP: uuh, well I don’t like it very much, I guess I think people are spending too much time at it.
Matt: Yeah, they do! I mean I actually like mixing in a little filming kind of as a secondary thing. But, I understand the appeal of it. There are some really cool shots that come out of it that’s for sure.
JP: Yeah. Did SIA bring on additional responsibilities for you and how do you use that SIA platform in a way that was maybe different than other industry outlets?
Matt: Sure. Yeah, SIA definitely brought on some different responsibilities for me in terms of coordinating with different reps to get the actual items to the show. And then there was the three days prior to the show where we were actually setting up that booth, physically moving it into place was pretty gnarly. But, time well spent, it was really cool to see it all come together. I guess for us it’s a more personally involved thing as far as how it’s maybe different than other industries. Everyone who was involved with the production of the SIA booth genuinely needed to be there especially when it came to the creative control and how it was all put together.
JP: So with a number of spring events planned like The Launch, Superpark 18, and Ms. Superpark, I mean they’re not necessarily made for Internet events but how would you go about bringing them to the light for the Rome community?
Matt: Sure.. Well for the most part those events will have a live streaming component. For us we’ll definitely try to highlight our riders who are involved in those events. It’s really a cut and dry sort of plan because really all the brands are more or less doing the same thing. So it’s really more just trying to keep pace, you know this is what all the brands will really be doing to promote their riders. But, you know, our angle, well we’ll try to provide more insight to those riders who are attending those events. I personally think the interview components and blog updates are big, I think those do pretty well, so I’d personally to try and get some media going in that regard.
JP: I’ve heard the summer is a hard time for the snow industry cause people are kinda starved for content n stuff. So do you have a plan for keeping people engaged?
Matt: That is a great question. I am curious to see what that amounts to having not going through a full year’s cycle of it yet. My gut feeling is that it’s more about the products and the reviews become a little more involved, because I know a lot of media outlets kind of get that going over the summer. The summer camp angle becomes pretty big. Also, we’ll be releasing our new video series Find Snowboarding over the summer. It’s not going to fill up the entire summer but it’s going to work with the calendar a little bit.
JP: Well is there anything I haven’t asked you that maybe you wanted to discuss?
Matt: Oh I don’t know maybe just the fact that you’re the man and this interview was awesome, you had some really great questions!!
JP: Thanks, well that’s just about it then.