Profile: Sean Whalen

Story and photo by Rosemary Vestal, NewsNetNebraska

It’s difficult to get a straight answer out of Sean Whalen. Ask him, for example, what his profile should be about and he’ll respond with a laugh.

Sean Whalen in front of the Nebraska Coliseum.

“Say I love singing opera,” he said. “They won’t know (I don’t) – tell them I do it because it makes me feel good.”

That’s the news-editorial major’s typical attitude and the same one he uses when interacting with fellow students, his teachers and even with the athletes he covers for the Daily Nebraskan sports section, where he has worked for three and a half years.

Press him, though, and a totally different side emerges. Whalen is actually a private person, best evidenced by the fact that his Facebook has no pictures on it, not even the profile, nor does it have any other personal information. No birthday, relationship status or status updates. His last wall post was Aug. 25. It was from his sister, asking him to text her back.

Some people keep their personal lives off the Web from the fear that future employers might see something undesirable. But that’s not why Whalen’s Facebook is so sparce.

“Who cares about (any of the personal stuff)?” Whalen asks. “It’s just ego-boosting. If it’s that important, then the people who really care about you know. It really boils down to people thinking ‘look at me, I exist.’ I know I exist, and I don’t need Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey’s validation.”

When asked what he wants to do after he graduates in May, Whalen quips that he wants to be a Somali pirate.

It may be a long time before that straight answer ever comes.