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The Paesanos Podcast

Author: Sean Lukasik

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This podcast is about internet culture and the relationships we build (or lose) as a result. Join Sean Lukasik as he talks with authors, speakers, and thought leaders about their work - and how the internet has played a role, for better or worse.
12 Episodes
As the first "season" of the Paesanos Podcast comes to a close, I talk with Maddie Buyers about what it means to be chronically online these days. We also share a few updates from the first 11 podcast guests, talk about who would make a great Paesano, and what storylines we're following into the new year. Several months ago, Maddie shared some topic ideas with me and we only begin to scratch the surface on some of them. What is "phone brand culture" and how is it changing? How have 3rd places moved from physical locations to internet forums? And whare are old school meme characters up to now?After this episode, we'll take a break and reach out to new guests about new topics. If you have ideas, email Looking forward to more great conversations in 2024! 
Maddy Masiello, Audio Production Manager for The New York Times, has been in the podcasting space for more than 5 years - which may not sound like a long time, but that’s over 25% of the entire timeline of podcasts in the world. In this episode, we talk all about podcasts and audio content and why the internet can't seem to get enough.Maddy talks about how “Serial” - the popular series from the New York Times - transformed podcasts as we know and listen today. And she shares some examples of how the NY Times audio team enhances the news and information we take in every day.If you haven't already downloaded the New York Times Audio App, I highly recommend it. You'll find Maddy's work mixed in across several NYT productions. Here's one example.
Kate Lindsay is the co-founder of Embedded, a newsletter about the ins and outs of the internet, and she writes a monthly internet culture column for Vulture. Kate is also a frequent contributor to publications like The Atlantic, The Guardian, GQ, and The New York Times.In this episode, we end up on several fun tangents - like why social media is feminine and how TikTok may have turned us all into lurkers. This is a fun conversation with someone who thinks deeply, and often, about the Internet and its role in modern society.If you enjoy this conversation, you can check out Kate's website where you'll find articles, newsletters, social media accounts, and even ceramics.
Four years ago, Sarah and Brandon Arant moved into a van with their three dogs. Since then, they became the couple behind @LivingInAdvance, a popular “van life” account that has amassed over 125,000 followers and millions of views between Instagram and YouTube alone.But today, Sarah and Brandon are in the process of selling their van and announcing some major life transitions - all through social media. This episode explores what it's like to be an influencer around one main topic, and how to navigate self-imposed responsibilities to your followers (and essentially your career) when life takes a different path. If you want to follow their story beyond this podcast, you can find Sarah and Brandon on Instagram and YouTube. Or check out their website at
Internet culture is all around us. It affects the way we communicate, the way we find relationships, the way we work - and for the purpose of this episode with Lieutenant Joe Torrillo, the way we perceive and learn about history. Lieutenant Torrillo was buried twice on the morning of September 11, 2001. In this conversation, he shares his incredible story - and also discusses how the internet has perpetuated and spread conspiracy theories about what happened that day. As a retired FDNY Lieutenant, Joe now travels the world as an inspirational speaker in front of audiences of all sizes. He serves as a mentor for men and women in the armed forces and works with schools, corporations, and organizations to deliver thought-provoking speeches and ideas. You can learn more about his story and his work - and inquire about speaking engagements - by visiting 
It’s impossible not to admire the work that Tara McGowan has done in her short career so far. In just over 10 years, she’s built and executed multiple successful digital strategies on a national scale; first for President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, then Hillary Clinton’s 2016 bid for the presidency, and then in 2017 when she founded ACRONYM, a nonprofit organization building online infrastructure for progressive movements. Out of ACRONYM grew Courier Newsroom, where Tara now devotes her full focus on tackling the nation’s information divide.In this episode, we had a chance to talk about the evolution of modern journalists, her take on the future of media in this country, and some of the challenges we face as a democracy with the erosion of access to local news.Follow Tara McGowan on LinkedIn, Twitter / X, Instagram, and even Threads.
David Ebeltoft is a screenwriter whose work has been hailed as "suspenseful," "emotionally-driven," and "decidedly chilling." These phrases may also be used to describe the current situation in which screenwriters and actors find themselves. David joins the Paesanos Podcast to talk about the evolution of streaming and how the internet completely changed the film and television industry.David's films have earned enthusiastic reviews from The New York Times, Variety, and The Village Voice. His most recent project, BLOOD FOR DUST, starring Scoot McNairy and Kit Harington, premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. You can learn more about his work at or by finding him on Instagram and Facebook.
Franz Nicolay is the keyboardist for one of my favorite bands, The Hold Steady. He also plays piano and accordion for The World/Inferno Friendship Society and produces music as a solo artist. Franz is the author of two books: The Humorless Ladies of Border Control and Someone Should Pay For Your Pain. He’s written countless articles for publications like Spin, VICE, Slate, and The New York Times, and he’s a professor at Bard College and Columbia University. In this episode, we talk in depth about topics like virtual songwriting, pandemic projects, the war in Ukraine, and the history of music on the internet. If you're not already a fan of Franz's work, you can find all of his books, articles, and musical projects on his website here:
Matt Parrino is the Buffalo Bills beat reporter for and he covers the NFL team through a variety of media, including the award-winning podcast “SHOUT!” where he is a co-host with Ryan Talbot through NewYorkUpstate. Matt provides pre-game coverage on TV in his home city of Buffalo and is active all across social media. Before he started covering the Bills, Matt spent 4 years with the UFC as their digital media director. In this episode, he shares some great insight on the use of social media in sports and how 24/7 coverage can be as exhausting and challenging as it is inspiring. Matt is also an adjunct journalism professor at the University of Buffalo and you can follow him just about everywhere on social media:@MattParrino on Twitter@MattParrino on InstagramMattParrinoBills on Facebook
Rebecca Ryan is an economist and futurist, and founder of Next Generation Consulting where she and her team help clients create brighter futures through planning and foresight. She's also the best-selling author of three books:Regeneration: A Manifesto for America's Next LeadersLive First, Work Second: Getting Inside the Head of the Next GenerationThe Next Big Things: The Future of Local GovernmentYou can follow Rebecca Ryan on LinkedIn or check out all of her articles, blog posts, podcast appearances, and more on her website here: I also highly recommend Rebecca's TED Talk or any other work you can find.
We're excited to have Michelle Icard on the podcast this week. Michelle is an author and educator who works with parents, teachers, and children - helping them navigate the tumultuous stages of early adolescence. She's also the author of three books:Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School YearsFourteen Talks by Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids Before They Start High School8 Setbacks That Can Make a Child a Success (coming August 8, 2023) You can find Michelle's articles and insight on the TODAY Show, The Washington Post, CNN, and more. And you can learn all about her leadership camps, speaking events, and additional resources on her website at for listening and sharing this episode!
We're very excited to have Dr. Jen Golbeck as our first guest in this brand new podcast from Sean Lukasik and Creagent Marketing. Dr. Golbeck is an expert in social media and online privacy, and she understands what makes people (or dogs) go viral on the internet. In this episode we talk about algorithms, engagement, and optimization - and the positive and negative implications of each. We end by discussing The Purest Bond, a book by Dr. Jen Golbeck and Stacey Colino about the profound connection between humans and dogs.To learn more about Dr. Golbeck's work, visit her website or follow along on Twitter. And while you're on social media, be sure to check out The Golden Ratio on Twitter and Instagram. 
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