Psst! Hey you! Come here, I want to tell you a secret. Promise you won’t tell anybody, though. Okay, so, you’d never guess this, but OpenMedia’s team consists largely of a syndicate of 20-something hyper-nerds squirreled away in a dusty office in Vancouver’s historic Gastown district.
Sometimes we poke our heads out from behind the calming glow of our laptop screens and look out on the hip youngsters meandering the Gastown streets before getting scared and rushing back to the warm embrace of artificial light. We’re a pale bunch. But for some reason, maybe because the Internet is rapidly bringing geek culture into the mainstream, cool kids sometimes come our way and raise our hipness level to dizzying new heights.
One of those super cool kids is Izzy, a young documentary film student, who came to us from Intersections Media, a non-profit offering film training and work experience to local youth. Izzy completed a three-month video internship here at OpenMedia, working on our Internet Insider series and helping to script and record our Building Our Digital Future video - and all that on top of generally making the office a cooler place to be.
Izzy found a bit of time between film school classes to sit down with me and chat about what it was like working at OpenMedia and what promises the Internet holds in the future.
Q: What did you like about working at OpenMedia?
A: I really liked the environment. There was pressure, but it wasn’t bad pressure, and it got me to get my work done. I really liked the people here, and the work was fun. I had a lot of fun here.
Q: What do you love the most about the Internet?
A: That I can get anywhere on the Internet. I can go anywhere, it’s an open source. You can go everywhere on the Internet. What I love about the Internet is my favourite sites.
Q: What are your favourite websites?
A: I really like YouTube. I have a lot of YouTube channels that I like to watch like Critical, Jack’s Films, Video Game Dunkey. There’s a web series called Freeman’s Mind that I absolutely love. I have a huge subscriber list. One of the best things that I love about the Internet is online gaming. Mostly League of Legends, but I also have a tiny collection of games - Left for Dead, Killing Floor, Alien Swarm, MineCraft.
Q: What did you learn here?
A: I learned how to edit better, how to work in a much larger team. I learned about free expression online, the campaigns that OpenMedia does. I learned that the Internet is in danger, that’s definitely something that I wasn’t aware of until I did my internship here. So I learned that the Internet is in a really scary place right now, and I share that with people I meet and let them know they can save the Internet.
Q: How do you see the Internet being involved in your life in the future?
A: Like it is now. I see myself finding jobs online, being involved in wikis and getting more involved.
Q: How do you see the Internet changing?
A: For the better, hopefully. I want to see it become more free. People have stereotypes of people being one with the Internet, and I think that it will become more harmonious with our lives, but in a good way.
Q: How did you come to be an intern with OpenMedia?
A: I went through a program called Intersections Media. It was a very good experience, and I really like the employees that work there. It was a beginning to the film industry, they taught you how to edit on Macs, and at the end they give you an internship, and I got the one here.
Q: What does the future hold for you?
A: Hopefully working in the film industry, maybe some photography, something film-related. I think my ideal future would be a very small film crew or a part of a film crew for a semi-successful youtuber, just because I know YouTube very well. I really love the way YouTube is set up. I find it really cool because if a million people decide to watch your videos, it means you really have something to show the world, something to entertain and educate them. And it’s so huge, there’s something like a pentabyte uploaded to YouTube everyday. And it’s really revolutionary - 5secondfilms is the original Vine. There’s a huge variety on YouTube that I’d really like to get involved in.
Q: We campaign on three pillars or issues - access, privacy, and free expression. Which one of our pillars resonates with you the most?
A: Privacy, definitely. I don’t want anyone spying on me. You shouldn’t be spied on by your own government on the Internet, that’s just not cool.
We couldn’t agree more, Izzy.
If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities with OpenMedia, check out: https://openmedia.ca/volunteerwithus?src=blg