Interview with SOCIETY2
The full article was originally published by HelloIOTA. Read the full article here.
Today, we’re lucky to learn more about a promising project that’s aiming to shake up the decentralized social media (DeSM) space. We talked to Ben Royce, SOCIETY2’s founder, along with Joseph Skewes and the rest of the team. Ben, Joseph, and the team were extremely generous with their time, so I think you’ll find their insights below particularly insightful. They even reveal an announcement in question number 10!
SOCIETY2 has only been around for a few months, and what a time it is to start such an important project! We find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic that’s rendered normal interactions temporarily difficult. The knock-on effect, of course, is that people are now spending even more time on social media platforms. Twitter has seen its daily active users surge to new all-time highs during lock-down while also experiencing an attack that allowed hackers access to various high profile twitter accounts. It seems like you couldn’t have written a better script than this for SOCIETY2.
Before we jump into SOCIETY2’s unique position in DeSM, let’s learn a little more about where the idea arose.
HelloIOTA Question #1
Ben, you benefit from such an interesting mix of experiences: a Masters degree in Media, Arts, and Communication from NYU paired with years of programming experiences within industries as disparate as healthcare and finance. Do you remember your first experience with cryptocurrencies in general? What originally appealed to you about the ideals of cryptocurrency? How did you find IOTA, and is there anything about your background that contributed to your recognition of IOTA’s importance in the DLT space? Also, why did you make the leap from ‘industry’ into ‘crypto’?
My undergraduate degree is from Yale, in biochemistry, but I hated working in the lab, so I switched over to computer programming. I got my Masters at NYU just as the Internet was taking off, this is the early 90s, when thoughts like “the Internet will become a collaborative multimedia art project” was considered a prudent insight. People talked about Jaron Lanier and William Gibson and geeked out about the future of the Internet, very much a feeling of deja vu for me with cryptocurrency and IOTA today, this feeling of excitement at endless possibilities and gaga futurism.
While a grad student, I was in AIDS outreach and education on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, at the time the worst hit area of the USA, before retrovirals made AIDS survivable, but at the time I was with people as they passed. Then I worked as a tour guide on tour boats on the Hudson, a really fun job for a student, talking about history and pointing out the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center. And then I wound up working at the World Trade Center for Credit Suisse First Boston. My last day of work there was September 10, 2001. I was at work until 9 PM that day and so I vowed to come in late the next morning, never making it in of course. I didn’t lose any coworkers or friends, I worked on a low floor. I decided to get serious about life after that and met my future wife in Times Square, where I lived at the time. We moved upstate to the Hudson Valley and we had two kids. We moved again recently to Western New York, closer to Toronto than New York City, between Rochester and the Finger Lakes.