Social media is an evolving instrument for the new millennial platform to continually promote the “fake it till you make it” type mentality and lifestyle. With everyone investing some serious time in their uploads and hashtags, the internet has become the number one source for branding as well as receiving your daily dosage of inspiration. Most individuals showcase photos as they celebrate their accomplishments and splatter the visual proof across every social feed. Understandably so, this is seemingly the only way Generation Y knows how to cultivate the marketplace- with new followers and extended reach through their own powerful bragging rights. I know this first hand as I attempted to design and build up my own credibility through a local entertainment media channel, CoffeeTawkNJ.
After experiencing a roller coaster ride of emotions in my early 20 something’s with many failures and catapulted glimpses of success, I found myself at a crossroads. I was fortunate enough to establish a community name for myself which lead to opportunities that I had always considered to be a lifelong dream. Although I had my fair share of trend-worthy moments, my social media made it seem like I was living a much more glamourous life than I actually was.
After graduating, achieving my B.A. in Radio/Broadcast/Journalism, with the goal in mind of ending up like the next Guiliana Rancic, or perhaps Elvis Duran, I set out to conquer media and entertainment in any way I knew how. My first glimpse behind-the-scenes was at a boutique style metal music publicity firm. I started off interning (a.k.a. working for free for those who live under a rock), and justified the opportunity as a resume builder and a necessary evil for working my way up. Aside from being one of the coolest gigs one could have out of college, being backstage with Metallica, LOG, etc., at such accredited venues like MSG in NYC, I gained a lot of knowledge regarding the business aspect of the music industry. Not being much of a metal head, I appreciated and respected the legends I was honored to have met, and used every bit of experience to my advantage. In fact, an opportunity arose about a year or two down the road after I was recruited by a Fashion PR Firm in Manhattan. Long story short, it didn’t turn into the 6 season HBO hit series, SATC like I thought it would. We are talking broke as a joke, no work/life balance, or even potential vision for a real future. So I took a step back again.
After a brief position in which I attempted to establish my own path and responsibilities at a media/advertising agency fell through, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I created CoffeeTawkNJ. At first it was nothing more than an outlet for me to release my thoughts, energy, and follow some of my creative passions while working full-time elsewhere in order to survive/pay my bills. I have been very fortunate in my life to have the luxury of a living at home and maintaining an excellent & supportive relationship with both parents, which allowed me to truly figure things out. Here I am at a quarter life crisis, as financially independent as I could be minus a rent, and still couldn’t see my big picture panning out. I was out and about, meeting people, networking, getting my name out there, and scoring some game-changing opportunities through my little, Jersey gimmick based blog.
Without going into detail, I encourage you actually check out the blog to read about some of my outrageous celebrity encounters. My confidence not only grew but so did the opportunity. Of course it took much more investment, but I finagled a position co-hosting a radio show. Hello Dreams, where have you been all my life? Things quickly began to shift. I was getting my foot in the door with big names, reality TV personalities, and even exclusive interviews with some of my ultimate Hollywood stars. Again, although I was pursuing my dreams and I appeared to being living out my fantasy, my bank account was simply not reflecting my hard work or the epic situations I was getting myself into. My father would often joke that I was his little “con-artist” because it didn’t make sense that I was getting A-list opportunities with little to no credentials. However, classmates and old friends were reaching out to me non-stop asking what the heck I did for a living that I was with all these superstars…or if I could help them. I felt like such a hack because deep down I knew my social media promoted a false sense of what was really happening in my life… your typical millennial struggle, a promise/guarantee that if by doing everything right it will take you everywhere you need to go- and that simply wasn’t the case. 401K Followers does not equal 401K remember that… Although, I was getting dynamic and positive results from my go-getting attitude, just no security or stability on the job front.
I was inspired to write this after a few months stationed at what I feel has been my big break- X Factor Media. After years of connecting the dots, innovating my own initiatives through digital breaks like Elite Daily articles gone viral, In The Chair on WCTC 1450, Hosting on WKMB, CoffeeTawkNJ, etc., X Factor became my home base. My current boss found me on Linkedin and noticed my constant quest for world domination. At X Factor, I finally feel comfortable that what I have been doing all along on the side, not only pays off, but it solidified a true testament for me to continue to do what I know how to do best. In six short months, X Factor has provided me with ongoing possibilities in various aspects of content curation and offering me backend support in my pursuit of media and entertainment.
I felt obliged to share my insight with the new millennials who are forced into this “fake it till you make it” social media realm. Social image and influence seems to be one of the strongest and most powerful ways to seek out new levels for networking, a fresh way to reinvent and brand oneself until you find what makes you happy, and eventually your break explodes. It is not going to ever happen the way you anticipated, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Do not feel bad about having to “fake it till you make it” because at the end of the day everyone is in the same boat- up the creek without a paddle. I only endorse we talk about it more among other millennials to address the reality behind every 20 something year old's situation and motivate each other to strive further.