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Stay dirty, bahd

Humans of Alberta“Can I swear and shit?”

Matt MacLean was leaning back on a couch with a couple friends sitting around him like it was story time. He wasn’t exactly sure how to begin.

“Just [put] ‘frig it’ or something,” he tells me.

“Well, being a poor kid from the Maritimes I said frig it, I’m going to Alberta. I’m going to make a bunch of dirty Albertan money.”

MacLean went to Peace River in May, where he was helping build a bridge. Like any hard worker, he sweat during the day, and at night enjoyed a Mike’s Hard Lemonade while browsing Facebook.

“I saw Humans of New York and sites like that, and I said ‘man, it would be funny as frig to just make some stupid post with one of my buddies.’ ”

That night, he created the Humans of Alberta Facebook page, and posted its first photo. “We took about seven or eight different pictures. Finally we got the money shot.”

The picture was of MacLean’s friend, Wise, on top of a dirty old minivan. Along with it came a caption, telling the story of an East Coast kid living the dream in Alberta, and it quickly began getting attention on Facebook.

“We were having some beers and I noticed that it started getting a lot of likes, but half of them were from people that I didn’t know.”

By the next morning the picture had 500 likes, and since then the page has grown to have over 11,000 people following it.

While most people that read Humans of Alberta understand it as satire, there are those that are angry at the dirty picture MacLean is painting of Alberta.

“Some people will write ‘oh my God, this is such a disgrace to Alberta,’ ” he said. “But the funny thing is that I have a little cult that will all come in and defend it.”

“Right when there is something negative said about the site, there will be 10 people replying. I’ve got backup.”

After the first photo was posted in July, MacLean continued from Alberta with photos of his co-workers, as well as some friends from back home and some that have been submitted to him. Though he has been back in New Brunswick since September, the page is still generating new material, including branching out to thoughts on politics, rants, and the occasional poem penned by MacLean himself.

Though he makes jokes about how much “action” he has gotten because of the site (“none,” he asserts), and how he wants to look cool in this article, MacLean has become serious about the page.

“Social media is science, boys,” he explains.

MacLean is thinking of putting some money into boosting his profile on Facebook. Along with this, he and a friend have now developed a website, called Albertabahd.com, which will also be selling t-shirts and potentially other clothing products in the future.

The first batch of t-shirts, which say “stay dirty, bahd” on them, have already sold out, and MacLean is hopeful to get more out before it is to cold to show them off.

Throughout the night, MacLean talks about finishing his engineering degree or maybe trying stand-up comedy. He talks about living in St. John’s or Fredericton or about travelling. Even if he isn’t totally sure what he is going to do in the future, that isn’t a huge concern at the moment.

Right now, he says, his only goal is to see a total stranger wearing one of his t-shirts. With a growing number of fans in the USA as well as throughout Canada, that dream doesn’t seem that far off, bahd.

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