As a musician and as a 39-year-old, Ryan McMahon has approached social media very cautiously.
It wasn’t that long ago when going on tour would require him to design posters for every date and venue, then mail them out to each community for somebody to pin them up on local bulletins ahead of the show.
“It was quite tedious in a lot of ways,” McMahon remembers.
Nowadays, it’s much more efficient to get the message out with the help of the Internet. But unlike newspapers, which have consistently been an excellent vehicle for getting the word out, some of the Internet’s innovations have run amok.
“People are not always using it the right way,” said McMahon. “Between cat videos, pictures of food, Snapchats and (private) pics – a lot of us have a tough time balancing it.”
However, he doesn’t feel like screen-time obsession is a new phenomenon.
“When colour TV was first invented nobody could take their eyes off it, even if they only had I Love Lucy to watch.”
Smartphones have taken electronic engagement to a much deeper level though. From sharing stories that will disappear after a day to morphing faces into barnyard animals – there are endless ways to have fun and be silly with friends and family over the phone.
After swimming against the current and resisting social media for years, McMahon carefully began to embrace it.
“I just took some pictures of my harbour in Ladysmith where I live. It’s beautiful here,” he said. “If it’s used to show people our gratitude – and in positive ways – it can be a really useful tool. I’m able to stay connected with people I maybe only see twice a year.”
He aims to stay authentic with what he shares online, so he avoids giving into the pressure of posting constantly just for the sake of promoting his music.
“We’re in a time where quality doesn’t matter as much as quantity.”
As a member of the B.C. rock trio Lion Bear Fox, McMahon hasn’t had the chance to write music and tour solo in more than six years.
“When the band became a little bigger and a little busier I was forced to put my solo career on hold.”
Lion Bear Fox isn’t going anywhere though – McMahon is just taking a break to promote his new album, In Line For A Smile, which he claims is some of his best solo work.
“I was able to be my whole self on this album,” he said “There’s very little compromise in everything from what I put into a song, rather than falling in line with how a band has been branded.”
McMahon will be in Oliver at the Firehall Brewery on Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the venue or by calling 778-439-2337.