Mon: Why don't we start with you telling us a little bit about your background?
Caitlyn: I think I ended up in social because social content really envelops all things creative. When you work in social you can work in design, curation, photography, producing, directing – you can be a part of the whole process versus say just pre-production or post-production which is more silo'd.
Mon: I never thought of it like that, but it makes sense that there are so many creative disciplines within social and content creation.
Caitlyn: I started off in film school and studied film and design, like visual effects but it gravitated towards more film and production. So when I moved to New York I did Production Assistant work on set.
Then I started doing visual merchandising with Brandy Melville and because I had film and photography experience, I was given the opportunity to do that for the brand. I wore like an insane amount of hats for that brand and just worked globally kind of doing anything and everything.
Eventually, I held a similar role for Urban Outfitters doing some visuals in the stores, event coverage, and photography and social media work. With UO, I was able to work with a bunch of other amazing brands like Adidas, Levi’s, Vans, and FujiFilm, which opened a lot of doors for me.
Mon: How do you think the pandemic has affected the social content industry?
Caitlyn: I honestly don't think 2020 and Corona has necessarily changed social, I think that social is always changing drastically, especially when you are in that world you can see how it evolves. I just think that more people are on it –well statistically more people are on it, it's insane, people's screen times are up like 90%. And Tik Tok now has over 1 Billion users.
Mon: What about making content? How do you think it's affected making content?
Caitlyn: Because of Corona, budgets are cut, so companies have to focus more on organic content vs paid ads.
Mon: Where do you think the future of social media is going? Is it all about Tik Tok and video going forward?
Caitlyn: Yeah I do think that's where the future is, but I don't think that anything in social is long-term. Even just a few years ago in regards to influencer marketing, people were talking about how it's going to 'change the game' – and I think we can already see it's gotten pretty stale.
We’re already seeing the 'fakeness' show through – it doesn't feel as authentic as it once did. Influencer strategies are being replanned constantly because authenticity is really what everyone is looking for. It’s really just the search for authenticity, so if that ends up being Tik Tok videos, then that's what it’s going to be for the next year or so.
Mon: Will you be happy if it's Tik Tok? haha
Caitlyn: It's not that I don't like Tik Tok, I actually don't mind it because it reminds me of Vine (RIP). But... I don't like that it still feels unfamiliar to me - that’s frustrating from a marketing standpoint.
Mon: Are there any newer and smaller social apps around that you think will be popular in the future? I love Ello for example.
Caitlyn: I also love Ello! Great space for creatives - feels like Instagram back in 2012 to me...but much more polished. I'm still holding out for Soundcloud to build out some sort of social community, but it's too dang cool for everyone. I'm keeping my eye on Parler as I'm sure a lot of others are. And I think Kik still has a lot of potential.
Mon: Now that platforms like Facebook and Twitter are so well established, do you ever see them getting dropped or becoming uncool? like say, Myspace?
Caitlyn: Umm MYSPACE FOREVER! #TeamTom. But honestly, no I don't think so. I don't ever see them going away now. I see them evolving for sure, but they're not going anywhere anytime soon.
Same with Youtube and Twitter, Twitter has so many brands and celebrities on it, I see those platforms hanging around for a very long time.
Mon: Social Media companies have been getting scrutiny lately in regards to misinformation and censoring. Do you think this criticism is warranted?
Caitlyn: To put it simply, companies should be more open and learn to be flexible. Everyone is always going to have an opinion on what you say (whether that's positive, negative or indifferent). If you are posting something on behalf of your brand, then you need to take your words seriously. Some topics being discussed are much more meaningful than just posting a picture of a sunset for likes (and it's refreshing to see more relevant content circulating), but a brand needs to know how to respond accordingly if they make a mistake...and that's a much larger conversation.
Mon: What's your philosophy for creating content for social?
Caitlyn: When it comes to content I think that all content should fall under the 3 E's – ‘educate’, ‘evoke' and ‘entertain’. There is a much larger strategy behind that concept, but that’s what I’ll say to keep it very simple. If it doesn't do any of those things then it's just content for contents sake and it shouldn't be up. Because what is it bringing to the table? I mean for brands, I'm not talking about interacting with friends and things like that. Go ahead and post that selfie girl!
Mon: Any creative rituals you want to talk about?
Caitlyn: I don't really have creative rituals – as long as I have an energy drink and bumping music that's all I need!
Mon: Do you think tech like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality could be incorporated into Social media in the future?
Caitlyn: Honestly super excited to see AR and VR advance in the social world! Facebook announced that its 'Project Aria' wearable AR glasses would likely be available in 2021. With Instagram's shopping options growing, it's only a matter of time before we see more AR try-on tools available to encourage more purchases on the platform.
Facebook has also seen a huge boost in sales for their VR headsets (Oculus Quest 2) in 2020 —which I've tried for the first time this year. SUPER FUN! Great activity while in lockdown...though I would like to see some functionalities improved to justify the price.
And though I'm not into Snapchat, they have been working with Apple for years to help develop Apple's AR functionality, and with the launch of the iphone 12, Apple announced that Snap would be among the first partners for its new LiDar capacity...and I do plan on getting that phone.
Mon: What Instagram accounts are you digging at the moment?
Caitlyn: Umm most of the ones I obsess over, [the ones that I think about where I can't scroll without liking it] and saving it are usually boujee interior design ones with vintage furniture pieces I can’t afford. So like there's one called @espace.empty and it's gorgeous and I save every one of their photos because it's curated perfectly. I'm also obsessed with ESPN and Bleacher Report. I think ESPN is doing a really great job at mixing sports and culture together in a way that's entertaining and informative.
Mon: Dream brands to work with?
Caitlyn: Nike for sure.
Mon: That's on every creative's list
Caitlyn: Yeah I know, ESPN would be up there too, that would be really fun. I've always wanted to work for an interior brand too, something like @apartmenttherapy.
Mon: Best film camera you own?
Caitlyn: It's not fancy but I would say my Canon AE-1.