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River Beats Chats with the Hero We Didn't Know We Needed: DudeWithSign [Interview]

A man stands on the corner of two streets somewhere in New York City. With a tight facial expression and sunglasses over his eyes, he straightens his long arms to raise a piece of cardboard above his tall frame. Towering over the people passing by, the words plainly written across the cardboard with a black sharpie scream his most recent protest. And New Yorkers aren’t the only ones who can see it.

Even with modern technology, protesting anything to a bigger audience still proves difficult. However, for Seth Phillips, also known by his Instagram @dudewithsign, getting a message across the Internet has never been so easy.

 

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@corporateamerica

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Coming from Wichita Falls, a small town in the northern part of Texas, Seth had no idea he would end up living in the Big Apple. He really didn’t think he would be managing an account with now 3.3 million followers. Currently working for Whatdoyoumeme and FuckJerry, this Southerner gets to use his creative insight in ways he never thought he would.

River Beats got to speak with Seth about his journey to becoming an internet sensation. Check it out below!

River Beats: Let’s start with how you go about these “protests”. How does the process go?

Seth: “It depends on how we want to capture the picture (people moving about their day normally, seeing if we can capture anything in the background that’s relevant)- I’m always wearing my sunglasses too. I used to only stand out there for a few minutes just to get the picture, but now I’m out there for way longer. Random people on the street will recognize me while walking by, so I end up staying out there for a couple of hours trying to be nice and take pictures with everyone who asks.”

Congratulations on 3.3 million followers! That’s incredible growth in such a short amount of time. Coming from a small town in Texas, did you ever think you would end up working for one of the biggest meme/parody accounts online today? How does that feel?

“I had no idea it was going to turn out like this. I’m just excited that I lucked out, getting to use my creativity and have fun at work. Now this has happened, and people are like, Ellen Degeneres’ producer reached out just to chat about some stuff.

I think the craziest thing I’m still wrapping my head around is that Rihanna follows the account. I actually got to DM her and she mentioned having ideas for some of the protests. It’s crazy that I’m from a small town in Texas, now living in New York City managing an account with a following basically 3x the population of my hometown.”

That’s so cool! So, how did you end up working for Whatdoyoumeme? What specifically do you do there in New York?

“After I graduated, I was traveling around the world (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Australia), and I know a friend who works with Elliot (creator of @fuckjerry). On my way to Australia, they asked if I could help write for Whatdoyoumeme. Then I ended up in New York, and landed a job in content marketing and writing for Whatdoyoumeme.”

My roommate and I actually own Whatdoyoumeme and Buzzed. We are religious players. Are you guys coming up with another game soon?

“Definitely a lot of new stuff coming soon. Can’t wait to see stores like Target and Walmart carry them, which is absolutely mind-blowing.”

Okay, now let’s talk @dudewithsign. Did you come up with the idea for it? How did the idea begin?

“Actually, Elliot started it and did a couple of signs, but it kinda died off. So I picked it up when I started at Whatdoyoumeme, kept going with it, and next thing you know, it just blew up. The first few posts got a ton of attention, but my sign “Daylight Savings makes no fucking sense” is probably the one that got the account to 1 million followers.”

 

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How do you decide what protests to jot down? Are they personal or are you representing the ideas of your coworkers as well?

“We kind of all contribute ideas, it’s more about the fun in coming up with things to “protest”. It’s always a good time brainstorming stuff for the account, and I truly enjoy being around so many creative people in a place where we shoot out ideas as our jobs.”

What are you trying to achieve with @dudewithsign? Is it purely entertainment or are you light-heartedly shining light on the little things that go unmentioned in everyday life?

“I guess our goal is to be relatable; relatable with things that aren’t really talked about enough but need to be said.

But we really just enjoy the humor of it, and more than anything, I’m glad that people enjoy the content.”

What do you foresee in the future for @dudewithsign?

“That’s a good question. Right now, we have no idea, we’re just riding the wave, hopefully using it for more things eventually. Possibilities are endless at the moment with so many people reaching out for music videos, action figures, merch, coffee mug (Seth chuckles in disbelief)… I don’t even know what I want for the future of the account. At the end of the day, I’m just a regular dude holding fucking cardboard and it’s just an Instagram account.”

Well, keep it up Seth. We stan behind you and your protests.

 

You can also find Seth’s protests also on Twitter. Share it with all your friends and family to spread word! Or actually… don’t.

 

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