Image Courtesy of Max Stossel

In an outspoken and over-crowded land of emoji filled language, it too often seems like meaningful communication gets lost in motion.  Logging into apps and out of interactions, flipping through phones, or rushing from one post to the next, we’re missing a lot of what’s right in front of us.

Max Stossel has turned these daily distractions into his very own content driven disrupter.  Using social platforms to cut through the clutter, Max promotes a message that the world needs to hear.  A message of meaning that promotes connection, communication, morals, and values.  From “Subway Love” to “Stop Making Murderers Famous,” Max has been featured by major publications such as Elite Daily, Fast Company, and Buzz Feed to name a few. He has been written about in 12 languages, prized in film festivals, and his videos have 10 million views and climbing…

We sat down to chat about his art, message, and story-telling in the modern age…

Max Stossel

Photo Courtesy: Wendy Bowman & Natasha Garoosi

Story-teller, poet, filmmaker.  How long has your love for words and content creation been buzzin’?! How’d it start? What’s most appealing about it?
Words are pretty far removed from what’s actually happening. We have experiences which elicit thoughts & emotions and we turn those into words. I think that’s why I take pride in being able to connect a room with words. To accurately pierce through all those layers and create a shared experience, or identify something inside of us that people can’t quite find their own way to express.

Content creation lets me increase the size of that room. People would ask me to send them my work, but it always felt like so much was lost when it was just words on paper. My videos are designed to hold attention through messages that I feel are important. It’s easier said than done in a world of 9s digital attention spans.

So tell us about Subway Love? What was the inspiration? How Did It Come To Life?
Subway Love came out of this longing for it to be easier to connect. There’s so much missed opportunity in our daily lives, not just romantic but for all sorts of potential enriching experiences.

When I decided to turn it into a short film, I proceeded to run around NYC reciting the poem for all these talented creative people just hoping they’d be a part of it. I performed poem over the phone for both the director, Matt Freidell, and choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall, having no idea if they were still on the line by the end. I met the lead actress, Rachel Berman, in a bar and asked the bar tender to turn the music down so I could perform the piece for her, and it all just fell into place. It meant the world to me that such incredible people wanted to be a part of the video just for the sake of putting something beautiful into the world.

Subway Love from Max Stossel on Vimeo.

How exactly did it go viral?
I posted it on Youtube and Facebook and was planning to email some people about it, but by the time I’d finished the email Elite Daily had already picked up the video and a plethora of others soon followed. A truly well told story that cuts through the clutter of internet content + publisher with reach is certainly the first step towards virality.

Max Stossel

Photo Courtesy: Wendy Bowman & Natasha Garoosi

What’s one positive thing about social media’s impact on the world?
Well it’s been a great tool for myself and other artists, activists, and entrepreneurs to spread their message. It’s also an incredible tool for people who didn’t have a voice to be heard. It feels like our world has so many problems, but really we’ve always had these problems (most of them), now we just have cameras to expose injustices that have existed for so many years. Now that we see them we can address them.

What’s one negative thing about social media’s impact on the world?
It’s taken over to such an extent, that we’re no longer just getting likes… likes are getting US to alter our behavior in the physical world. People are deciding how to spend their time based on what takes the best picture, what sends the right message for their digital persona. The digital personality has become more powerful than the real personality.

The nature of pulling out our phones and recording a moment, inherently means we’re not being fully present in that moment. For that reason the vast majority of social media is inauthentic crap, people posturing for social or professional status. I think it causes a lot of depression because of that stark contrast with the much more challenging reality of life.

I also think the scary nature of seeing all the world’s problems and terrors at once (again, that are not new!) has caused us to turn to dictator-esque figures out of fear and makes us more likely to sacrifice our freedoms. I wish we could look at all that’s going on with a level head and address it without freaking out… but the freak-out-worthy stories are gold for social media’s algorithms and get seen by lots of people.

If there’s one message you wish more people could hear today, learn, and practice, what would it be? Porn is not real sex, and it makes you bad at sex. I’m worried it’s serving as sex ed for young men and women. Working on a piece about that now.

How do we do it? How do we grow as global citizens and neighbors to become closer, more understanding, loving, and supportive?
Listen! And listen with an open mind. ESPECIALLY to people we think are stupid or crazy or evil.

Any guiding advice and or motivating words you live by?
Balance… but balanced amounts of balance… with a healthy dose of extremes.

If you could have coffee with any 5 people – who would it be?
Brandon Stanton
Elon Musk
J.K. Rowling
Mark Zuckerberg
Dan Fredinburg


Stay up to date with Max and his content! Check out Max’s website here and Youtube channel here!
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