On Twitter, "Follow Friday" (#FF or #FollowFriday) is a way to recommend people you think others should know about. It's a very neat idea, though most people just add the hashtag and then list a bunch of Twitter user handles. It's a nice way to give someone a shout out, but often lacks the context. Why should I follow these people? Well I've decided to answer that question & provide that context. Each Friday I'm able, I'll write a post briefly profiling 3 people who you should know about. This post is the "3 people that don't know this but I stalk them on social media because they're super interesting" edition. The people profiled/likely to file a restrainer order against me after this post, are Tony Farinella, Caleb James, & Chad Sprayberry.
Website: 411Mania.com Profile
I have planned a post about Tony for a while now. I've had a variety of reasons to, and especially so this past week. Tony is an internet film critic among other things. So as a film critic and also a Chicagoan, I'm sure Tony was deeply effected by the passing of the legendary Roger Ebert. In fact I know he was, because he posted about it, which is what I'm getting to.
I am a loyal follower of Tony Farinella on social media. The way people follow celebrities, I follow him. He's on a favorites list and I get notifications every time he updates his status (which is a lot). I follow Tony closely because he is entertaining. He's witty, he's thoughtful, he's passionate, and he's genuine. Tony puts himself out there, but not in a 'woe is me' kind of way (I delete those folks). Rather, Tony approaches life with a giant smile on his face and a desire to enjoy life to its fullest.
That smile was a physical smile walking the halls in high school, and now it's a digital smile. Tony has always been a loud, larger than life character to me. And I don't mean character in a negative way. To place him in a theatrical role (which I know he'll love), Tony is that character who at first seems like a minor player or just comic relief that ends up playing a larger role in the plot. He says something that's impactful to the main character, that you didn't see coming.
I'm inspired A. by Tony's willingness to share his thoughts with the world so freely B. by the genuine positivity to his posts - even when things are going poorly for Tony, he finds a reason to keep his head up - and C. by the pictures he regularly posts of he and his special lady friend Amanda. Seriously folks, they are F*CKING. ADORABLE.
Tony's a genuine individual that breathes life into life. Whether he realizes it or not, he's using social media in the best way possible. He's expressing himself in an honest way, and stirring emotion and commentary from friends. He opens dialogue with nearly every post he makes and he's so passionate about the things he loves. It's an honor to know and Facebook stalk him.
Website: Caleb James Fan Page
Caleb is the second talented journalist I have the pleasure of knowing and writing about (read about the first, David Montgomery, here). I met Caleb about 7 years ago when I was living in Boulder, CO the first time, working at Radio 1190. Caleb was a volunteer, working in the news department. From the very beginning Caleb struck me as a natural. His writing was succinct & his rhythm talking in pre-recorded segments and live on air was genuine and comfortable. He was easy to listen to, and struck me as reliable and credible.
I left 1190 and Colorado before he did, however the wonder that is Facebook has allowed me to follow his career. He's now a television reporter for Local News 8 & Channel 3 Eyewitness News in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
He's good at it too. All that nice stuff I said above - watch a few of his segments. He's a natural. And, like,...one of those people that does this for a living or something. Beyond my pride in knowing yet another person succeeding at what they set out to do, I enjoy following Caleb for his use of Facebook as a reporter. He has a fan page set up where he frequently posts a mix of content ranging from previews of his upcoming segments, to 'behind-the-scenes' pics, to petitions for audience participation/commentary. He also posts wonderful pictures of his dog and other moments from his personal life that let followers in to his personality a bit.
Altogether it makes for an entertaining feed, and while he may enjoy the comforts of Idaho, I get the sense he is destined for greater things as well. I'll continue to Facebook stalk him and report back as any developments occur....
Chad Sprayberry is a tough former college linebacker with a heart of gold and a borderline unhealthy Dave Matthews Band obsession. He's also my cousin, and an inspirational person in my life I'm proud of every day. Chad, similar to Tony above, has never been shy about posting his thoughts and feelings to Facebook. It's actually enabled me to feel like I know what's going on in his life and to be in awe of his positive spirit from a distance.
Now, I never got to see him play football while in college, but I did watch him a few times in high school and boy was he fierce. It's fun to know that despite being a tough football player, he has his priorities straight in life. While working his tail off on the field, he did so in the classroom as well, with great enthusiasm. He's also caring about his family, which is something I greatly admire.
Now while I jested at his Dave Matthews Band obsession at the beginning, obsession really isn't too strong a word. As Denver comedian Adam Cayton-Holland would say, Chad's "not just Dave-curious, he's full-on Dave." Chad's Facebook wall is full of DMB pictures, lyrics and thoughts about the man and his bandmates. It's also full of pics of Chad going to concerts, and being the first in line there. Chad's love for Dave Matthews puts mine for MUTEMATH (a later post) to shame. And that's saying something.
But I'm not making fun of Chad. Chad is that rare, special fan. The person who musicians can only dream of having in their lives. The person who is loyal and so deeply affected by what you do on record and on the stage. He's not creepy, he's just really into it. As a person who can appreciate the deep impact music can have on a life, I value Chad's love of the Dave-man.