Don’t Underestimate Millennials Who Use Social Media For Fame
By definition, millennials (also known as Gen Y) were born during birth years ranging from the early 1980s to around 2000.
A lot of social change has been happening by the hands of millennials that many older generations--the Baby Boomers ('40s to '60s) and Gen X ('60s to '80s) for example--don’t necessarily agree is the right way to go about life. Millennials are perceived as lazy young adults who don’t value education and take the easy way out.
With the rise of social media fame and incomes becoming feasible for any and all who have phones or laptops, many millennials are opting to not go to school, but rather focus on social media careers where they make money for simply being themselves.
Traveling the world on someone else’s dime, meeting amazing new people, and making large sums of money just for posting online content seems like the life anyone would want to live. So, what’s so bad about that?
While to a millennial that seems like an ideal lifestyle, many members of the generations before us have a lot of issues with the way we lead our lives. Why? Well, let’s start with the most obvious one.
Using social media for fame.
A lot of people have dreams of hitting it big and becoming famous. Thousands of people screaming your name and getting a ton of recognition for your creativity. This is nothing new to the millennial generation in comparison to those of the past, but the way millennials go about achieving this fame is.
Gen Xers think we take shortcuts. Instead of going to audition after audition, handling rejection after rejection, we instead build a large following on social media and wait for the offers to come. Kian Lawley, Timothy DeLaGhetto, and Jimmy Tatro are all famous YouTubers who got TV and film roles, and they all got these opportunities because of their millions of followers, right?
According to most Gen Xers, yes, but in reality, not a chance.
A lot of people who have some social media fame have zero talent and get no TV and film opportunities. If DeLaGhetto wasn’t hilarious he definitely would not be on "Wild n’ Out," and if Lawley and Tatro didn’t have acting skills no amount of followers could guarantee them roles alongside Channing Tatum and Tyler Perry. A large following doesn’t take precedence over talent.
What older generations see as shortcuts, millennials actually see as stepping stones. Instead of wasting years working dead-end minimum wage jobs, they use that time to build an online following honing their craft.
No one says the rule is you have to wait tables while going on auditions and getting rejected; and even if there was such a rule, they are meant to be broken. Coincidentally, rejecting the 9-5 life is yet another reason millennials aren’t taken seriously.
Creativity over hard work?
Instead of working toward a career, getting an education, and having a set daily schedule many of us drop out, quit our jobs, and become full-time social media content creators.
This, however, isn't the correct formula.
Everyone knows you’re supposed to work a part-time job during high school, get into a good college, do an internship or two, then either continue your education or go into an entry level position where you can start climbing up the ladder for a well-respected company. That’s the formula our parents took, their parents before them, and their parents before them.
You get a job and you work hard. Anything else is just lazy.
Here’s why that way of thinking is wrong.
Gaining a large following on social media isn’t easy. You don’t just get millions of followers overnight and checks from Google for millions of dollars with brand deals in your inbox. You have to put a lot of thought, time, and effort into videos that will get people’s attention. Hitting just 100,000 followers can take a year, minimum, if not more.
No social media account comes with loyal followers that throw you into stardom. That takes a lot of time and commitment. So while the work may be different, it is equally as difficult. Call it childish to pursue your dreams if you want, but something has to be said for the tenacity it takes to believe in yourself and get others to as well.
A millennial won’t settle, and that’s how it should be, even if that’s another reason we aren’t taken seriously.
We want more and won't settle for less.
Dropping out of school and having no job to pursue something with zero guarantees is irresponsible. An education may not guarantee a job, but it does heighten your chances tremendously. Leave the pipe dreams behind and make sure you can provide for your future family. Don’t look at it as settling. Look at it as being practical.
Okay, let’s look at it as being practical.
Is it practical to waste thousands of dollars for a degree you don’t want, for a career that will make you miserable, that will lead you to starting a family who will share in your misery because your sour mood rubs off on them, which ultimately could or would lead to a midlife crisis and divorce?
There is nothing practical about not following your dreams. Even if you stick it out, who wants to live life being miserable? More importantly, you don’t want that being passed off on your kids, they‘ll notice and they’ll react.
This is why millennials are being practical. We know what it takes to make us happy and we know that settling wouldn’t be practical.
I’m not saying all millennials want to break away from this formula and be famous for online content, but we shouldn’t harshly judge the ones who do--or those who need a few years to decide what they want to do with their lives. School is a great option, but it’s not the only option.
So, the question now is, is the millennial lifestyle really such a bad thing?
When you break societal cycles and formulas the generation before have cultivated, you go against the social structure that was created. You enter unprecedented territory--and that scares people. Everyone, especially older people, like the known. Everything a millennial has to offer is unknown. That terrifies Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
This is precisely why millennials should be taken seriously. Because we’re not afraid.
That uncharted territory that so little have seen is a challenge we need to conquer, not a hurdle we need to avoid. The strength it takes to go against societal norms cannot be measured because it exceeds all scales.
The role happiness plays in our lives is important to us, but looking at the older generations you could see why they wouldn’t get that.
In the past if you had a troubled marriage you stuck it out because it would look bad to divorce. If you got pregnant out of wedlock you went away for a while and that child was either adopted or became your "sibling." And if you were gay or transgender you suffered in silence, not being yourself out of fear.
A lot of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers were afraid to be happy. Millennials aren’t.
Take us seriously or don’t--it won’t change a thing. We know life comes down to happiness and if whether we need adventure or familiarity to achieve that happiness, it doesn’t matter because we seriously won’t stop until we get it.
Mia is studying criminal justice. Mia is obsessed with the classics and is always saying people need more Gatsby and Huck Finn in their life - not to mention anything John Hughes. She also spends her time as a staff writer for HackCollege.com. You can follow her on Instagram at @myohhmiaa.