Taylor Lukacin wants to help you find your “tweetheart”. This afternoon (May 7), the 20-year-old, White Rock-born blogger will give a talk at the 2010 Northern Voice conference that she’s calling "Social Media Flirting 101".
Better known on-line by her handle Taylor Loren, Lukacin is a Canadian studies and political science student at the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus, where the blogging and social media conference is taking place. She’s one of the editors of AMS Confidential, a student blog that covers the “down & dirty side” of campus politics and draws financial support through the voter-funded media model. The site only launched in January, but, according to Lukacin, it’s already become the most-read student blog at UBC.
Lukacin maintains personal blogs on WordPress.com and Tumblr. She also does on-line community work for Lululemon Athletica and provides volunteer social-media consulting services to the federal and B.C. Liberal parties.
The Georgia Straight reached Lukacin by phone at her home in Kerrisdale.
What do you like to blog about?
I really blog about whatever is tickling my fancy at the moment, whether that be anywhere from politics to the environment to fashion. But, through AMS Confidential, I really love blogging about UBC politics, because I feel that so many students aren’t interested in what’s actually happening on campus. So, the blog is a really great way to make everything more accessible. If you’ve looked at our blog, it’s done in a fun way with lots of sparkles and unicorns and stuff. So, that’s great. Lots of my personal blog as well is about my dating experiences through the Internet, which are definitely interesting.
How is AMS Confidential different from other student blogs on campus?
Other student blogs on campus, there’s some that are really great and they do great investigative journalism. There’s some that are extremely biased. There’s really great variation. But what I think puts our blog in the hearts of everybody is we have straight content that’s easy to read—it’s in plain English—and we have hilarious pictures, and that gets people to come to it. We’ll put funny faces on different people and stuff like that. So, people find it amusing, but they’re also getting content very easily.
You blog a lot about your personal life. Is anything off-limits?
Nope. No, definitely not. If you read it, it’s pretty personal. I wrote some posts about a testosterone detox that I was on in October. There’s stuff in there about pretty much everything. In my talk as well, it’s really opening myself up. I mean, I’m completely transparent on-line. My on-line personality is exactly who I am in person. Anytime, you can see what music I’m listening to right now. You can see via Foursquare where I am right now. I’m always tweeting and Facebooking. It’s pretty easy to understand who I am. So, I just talk about whatever I feel like, and I’m a pretty blunt person.
What’s the right way to flirt using social media?
Definitely with discretion. The right way to flirt? There’s so many different ways with your personality. Through my discussion, I’m going to go through different dos and don’ts. It’s more how to make a simple thing that could be viewed as friendship, how to make it clear that you’re flirting with the person on-line. So, different emoticons convey different things to different people. It’s getting that out. Also, taking things from the public level of, say, an at-reply and doing it more as a direct message.
I’ve pretty much had one relationship that I’ll be—it was an accidental follow on Twitter, and it went from the stages of following to finally talking to at-replying to DMs to Facebook friend request to a Facebook message to meeting in person and going from there. So, I’m going to be going through those steps and kind of sharing different stories along each little step towards actually meeting somebody in real life. But I actually haven’t ever done on-line dating. It’s all been through Twitter.
Your talk summary says you’re going to talk about safe cybersex. What exactly is safe cybersex?
For example, sometimes people use their phone to direct message people in order to send a naughty DM. If you text them and you type the person’s name wrong or you forget the “D” at the beginning and it shows up as an accidental tweet, that’s embarrassing on all fronts, especially because it’s cached forever. That would be major thing to avoid in safe cybersex.
Besides that, it’s just making sure—I mean, screenshots can be taken at any time, and people always forget that. There’s definitely some horror stories I’ve heard out there of people recording stuff and you don’t know and everything like that. So, you just want to be really careful when you do things like that, because it can affect your on-line reputation forever.
How do you think social media should be used in political campaigning?
I think it should be used authentically, and it should not be used by robots. I think there’s some really great examples out there. There’s a Web site called PoliTwitter.ca, which ranks different political leaders based on social-media scores as well as their engagement—which is really informative.
If you look at people like Ujjal Dosanjh, they’re using it themselves and you can tell. They’re really interacting with people who send them stuff. As well, Tony Clement has recently taken up Twitter, and his tweets are hilarious. He’s actually the first MP I’ve ever received a direct message from, just thanking me for the RT and support, which I really appreciated. His tweets are hilarious. They’re about Justin Bieber and stuff. I think social media with politics is a really great tool to just get people on a regular basis looking at your Twitter feed or your Facebook. It’s making it more accessible than all the politicians off in their own little sphere.
Who do you think is winning the social-media campaign during this HST initiative?
That’s a hard question. My initial reaction would be the NDP, just because of their ability to—I feel a lot of people are just not educated on the full understanding of the HST and what’s our alternative. I retweeted a post from the Vancouver Sun the other day, and this morning it’s got a whole bunch of retweets as well—just about trying to get people to understand the HST more, I guess. I think that the education points around that need to be viewed on social media a lot more. But I would say that discussion between real people who are interested and wanting to know more about the HST, I would say it’s really split on-line. On the Facebook aspect, there’s definitely a growing initiative for the pro-HST. But it’s still growing, and it’s not where it needs to be at the moment.
Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? Tell Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.