Like most 20 somethings, I am a bit of a junky when it comes to having my finger on the pulse. It may come as a surprise to you that I get most of my news from my viewer-customized Facebook and Twitter -- but it shouldn't. My zero desire to click down a rabbit hole of vapid content is indicative of a larger social phenomenon felt by my millennial generation. Not only do we want our media to be highly curated and relevant but also meaningful and not hyper-negative. Turns out, we're changing the face of media storytelling.
To bring about any social change, hearts and minds have to be set on fire with a vision offered through great storytelling. Luckily, digital media platforms offer each Average Joe a megaphone to launch his voice to unimaginable horizons. Though sometimes called "The Me Generation," millennials are harnessing these resources to tell meaningful stories, syncing offline communities doing social good with online and print outlets.
Millennial social entrepreneur and small business owner of Good Point PR, Jessica Saba is a real testament to this. Firmly convinced that the stories we tell shape who we are, Saba takes risks to only work with purpose-driven companies that affect social and environmental good. She confided in me over coffee that she often fears "standing up for what [she] believes in," but remains convinced she must be moved by a potential client's story to work with them. Saba is adamant that to be successful, she and her millennial peers will need to "find their voice and be authentic, allowing their choices to be driven by purpose."
If popularity is any indication of the truth of her statement, Rally.org is the proof in the pudding. The brainchild of Tom Serres, named "one of America's most promising CEOs under 35" by Forbes, Rally.org is a storytelling, crowdfunding platform that allows its 5 million users the ability to harness their separate networks and build a community of supporters around social good causes. Boasting a vibrant network of 27,000 people -- ranging from veterans who have raised money to adopt their former bomb dog, to parents who wanted to bring their small toddler with cancer on a vacation -- Rally.org demonstrates that people are hungry for a space to share their stories together and bring about social change by creating authentic communities of connection.
Rally.org is not the only one feeding this hunger. Like a shelter for those truly hungry, young entrepreneurs and millennial co-founders of Verily Magazine*, Kara Eschbach and Janet Sahm created a meaningful publication to support women in living integrated, fulfilling lives. Editor-in-chief Kara Eschbach shared, "We talk all the time that magazines need to change, but instead of just talking about it, we decided to do something about it." In true millennial fashion, Eschbach's and Sahm's "generation why not?" mentality resulted in a genuine online and print space for women's authentic stories.
These and other millennials like them are doing something right. My millennial peers and I want stories that connect us with one another and help us improve the world. We've been called the "engaged learner" because we want to participate in something meaningful and relatable, and many of us are in the business of creating solutions to the problem-ridden world, which we have inherited.
Nigerian storyteller Ben Orki wisely stated, "If we change the stories we live by, quite possibly we change our lives." Instead of being passive consumers of a storyline that has been written for us, now is the time to tell the tales we want to hear. The megaphone is in our hands.
*Verily is taking this conversation to the airwaves August 26 - 30 on "Getting Real" with Verily Magazine on SiriusXM Radio STARS Channel 106 at 10 am -11 am EST.