Crackmacs is the username we adopted back in 2009.
‘Crack Macs’ is the nickname that Calgarians gave to the 24/7 Mac’s Convenience store located at 7th avenue and 8th street southwest in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
We’ve lived downtown for quite a long time, and during the summer of 2009, we ended up moving in right beside Crack Macs. The downtown life is entertaining and something we weren’t strangers to, however once we settled in, we noticed a huge uptick in bizarre things happening outside compared to what we had been used to, and we wanted a way to ‘journal’ it. Twitter was emerging at the time and it seemed like a good place to do it. So on August 31st of 2009 http://twitter.com/Crackmacs was born.
The first tweet.
Hello world! I live on 8th st, right beside crack mac's in downtown Calgary. I will tweet about stuff that I see and hear from living here.
— crackmacs (@Crackmacs) September 1, 2009
Crack Macs on 7th Avenue
The history of Crack Macs runs deep, having existed many years if not decades before we started using it. The Mac’s location used to be notorious as a place to avoid if traveling downtown, due to drugs, drunks, assaults and worse. It was not lit very well, there was a train station attached to it with lots of room for people to do things without being seen, there were always people out and about at all times of the day and night. As the name suggests, crack and other drug use was rampant by people in the parking lot and surrounding area. Quite often people would offer to sell you drugs if you just so happened to be walking by.
Beside Mac’s was a train station, called 8th street station. This train station was a large part of the Crack Macs … operation? The way it was designed left a lot of blind spots, and people could quickly make a deal then jump on a passing train to leave the area quickly. Eventually this station was demolished and moved.
The original 8th street LRT station was opened on May 25th, 1981, and closed down December 19th, 2009 to make way for the new 8th street station. As part of a 7th avenue refurbishment project, a brand new station was constructed one block east of where the old station was and the old one was demolished. 8th street station, the first one, was often the scene of fighting and people doing shady things. You may remember the story of Gage Prevost being pushed to his death over a $10 drug deal gone bad.
This new station is much more open, longer (to accommodate 4 car trains), much better lit, more accessible, and overall a big improvement to the previous station. The new platform is attached to Century Gardens park, which is good and bad. It’s much nicer, being beside a park, but at the same time it’s often used as a gathering spot for shady people. As well, shady people still exist around Macs, but it’s not like it once was.
About “Crack Macs”
As mentioned earlier, Crackmacs was created to ‘journal’ or catalog the crazy happenings in our neighborhood and what it’s like living in downtown Calgary. We started out by simply sharing things we saw and heard down on the street from our balcony. Updates were quick, sporadic, and occasionally included pictures or video. We would share anything too, good, bad, ugly, it didn’t matter. We wanted to share what life was like from an anonymous and neutral point of view. From the beginning, we’ve never wanted to be part of the ‘story’ with what we’re sharing either. You’ve never seen us taking selfies or making ourselves the focus of the content. Whatever we’re sharing is the focus 100% of the time. Again – good, bad, or ugly.
When we started Crackmacs on twitter, we really didn’t have much experience in social media. We had been part of the Livejournal scene and the usual messenger programs (and IRC), but the twitter account was something new. We started off pretty slowly, no schedule of tweets or anything like that. It actually took almost 2 years to break 1000 followers.
— crackmacs (@Crackmacs) June 5, 2011
Once we started getting a bit of a following, we noticed something. We could help other people and causes with our account.
We actually became one of the larger twitter accounts in Calgary that wasn’t tied to some kind of business or company, which meant we had no kind of rules or any sort of etiquette to follow. People started regularly sending us things to retweet, like lost pets or questions where to find things. The larger accounts like @GlobalCalgary weren’t about to start retweeting random people, but we could – and did. We started helping out pretty much anyone that asked. In addition to that, we would search out interesting local content that wasn’t ours to retweet and help signal boost it. Lost dogs, foodie content, lost people, events, small businesses throwing parties, you name it.
Although our Twitter account has grown considerably larger, we still retweet and share content for Calgarians that need a signal boost. Tag us or send a DM. In addition to Twitter, our other accounts have been growing steadily.
In addition to the twitter account, we also have @Crackmacs on Facebook and Instagram. The content shared on Facebook is similar to the things that get posted to twitter, however there’s no character limit, plus Facebook makes it really easy to share things. If we can ever help with something on there, shoot us a message. Regarding our Instagram account, we just share random local pictures we take.
We would rather not get into any detail about ourselves personally. Crackmacs is run anonymously, so we don’t really talk about ourselves. A little mystery is fun, no?
Work With Us
If you’re interested in a collaboration or working with us in some capacity, click here.