This week’s Deep Dive Series is one for the books. For this interview we had the pleasure of interviewing, live on Clapper’s Radio, the amazing @Red8Actual.
Since we started our Veterans Voices hashtag , we have seen so many people speak out and find their community where they can feel right at home. This is why John Richter (aka Red8Actual), was the perfect person to interview this week. As a combat veteran and successful creator on Clapper, we felt John has so much to say and offer to the veteran community.
Not only he advocates for veterans, but invites whoever is struggling to reach out and find support. He’s an example to follow for everyone. We were lucky enough to have heard his opinions and voice in this interview.
Enjoy deep-diving into this creator’s life!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What does a day look like in your life?
Well, I have six kids, so my life revolves around getting them through the day. I have a three-year-old son who is learning about his voice and how loud it can be. I am trying to not lose my wits while he is going through this phase of his life. I am a disabled veteran, so I stay at home and raise my family. We just moved to Florida because it had better opportunities. Over the summer, we were trying to go to the beach every day, but now that school is in session, we are not able to go to the beach as much. And it rains every day here too.
So for anyone who doesn’t know this, @Red8Actual is a combat veteran. We thank you for your service. When did you serve? And for how long?
I actually joined the army a day before 9/11. I still had to finish my senior year in high school. I walked into school that morning and my chest puffed up while bragging to my friends. And then, we watched 9/11 happen on tv. As soon as I graduated at the end of that year, I went straight to the army in 2002. I served until 2009, when I suffered my brain injuries. When they found my brain injuries, they didn’t give me any choice. That kind of put me in a tailspin of having purpose and direction, then switching to having none.
What is a saying or phrase that you live by? Why?
My dad was a combat veteran too. So, all of my dad’s advices came from that perspective. While I was deployed, I got a Christmas card from my dad and the only thing he wrote inside was:
“Keep your head up, your butt down, your finger on the trigger, and all you’ll feel is the recoil.”John’s dad.
It made a lot of sense to me. It applies to everything. Just keep at it and you’ll only get the result you are looking for.
Let’s talk about your beginnings as a creator. How did your journey as a creator begin? Or even your journey on social media?
I started watching people on TikTok, and they were getting kicked off the app and going to newsclapper. So, I downloaded and started following people. I never felt like I needed to say anything until the elections happened. I wasn’t going to say anything more than: “Guys, we want to know the truth. That’s what is important. Letting the truth come out.” I felt good saying that and actually throwing my voice out there. Even if it was to the wind, it made me feel like I moved a little bit. So then, I made another video, and another one, because I felt like I had so much to say. Clapper has given me room to come out of my shell quite a bit.
So, for anyone who is not familiar with your content, what would you say defines you as a creator? What kind of content do you enjoy doing the most?
I enjoyed making people laugh the most. It’s just my favorite kind of content to make. Playfully picking on people or pointing out things that are ironic. I love to laugh, it’s my favorite thing in the world to do. And there is also a lot of people here that are good at making me laugh. However, I go from comedy to opinions. I have a passion for veterans and veteran suicide prevention. We can’t rely on government programs to fix our problems, we have to fix our own problems. When someone is struggling, they know they can come to me or other veterans in this app.
What do you enjoy most about Clapper?
What I love the most about Clapper is that because of my life’s experiences, I don’t fit in into day to day crowds. People like me are hard to find because we all don’t wear ribbons in real life. The fact that I didn’t try to grow inorganically and I made my content and let my crowd come to me. The people that are in my livestreams are the best people in the world; its the circle that I attract. Clapper did the work for me, they brought my people to me.
In what ways do you feel like Clapper needs improvement?
I mean this with all the love in the world. The duplicate notifications are so bad. It’s the one thing that I would change. When I get the number of notifications that I am getting, and it’s a lot, I am missing notifications that I need to see. It pushes important stuff out of my feed, unless I go digging and it takes time from my day. I want to give Clapper the time that it deserves.
What advice would you give new users that want to be successful on Clapper?
I love this question. Do it like I did. Make your videos. Don’t try to be like anyone else but yourself. When you’re yourself, your people will come to you, they’ll notice you. It will take a while but in three months you are going to be surrounded by people who get you.
You are very vocal about how veterans should talk more about their experiences after they have served. Why do you think it’s important for veterans to start talking more about this with their family or friends?
I’ve been in therapy for my PTSD and all therapies I have been provided to by the American system. But I didn’t feel safe in any of those. And I didn’t feel understood until I went to group therapy. I wasn’t only with combat veterans from Afghanistan or Iran, I was with veterans from Vietnam who were now in their sixties and had never talked about their experiences. Now, they had nightmares every night. I come in here and try to purge it all out. I am 45 years too late. That put things into perspective. I made way more headway in group therapy. That’s when I realized that telling your story to people just like you heals you. It has put me back into some bad places, but I worked it all out and I don’t have these issues anymore. When I tell the stories of friends who have given their lives in Iraq, they stay alive.