I started blogging when I was 13 years old, still in middle school. I didn’t know anything about writing except for what I had learned in various English classes and from my mom. I had no idea how to really do anything on the internet… but I did know the difference between http and https, and boy, did I think I was a genius for that one.
Basically what I’m trying to say is that I went into this thing—that very quickly changed from a side hobby to my life—completely blind.
There was nothing I could have done to prepare for this venture other than taking it moment by moment and learning as I go. The thing that started me on this journey, has remained the entire way, and will continue to be present is my need to do something to make an impact on the world. Something that now, through being a blogger and social media influencer, I can do.
With so much bad in the world right now, it’s easy to find something that needs changing and that us teenagers can help with. Most teenagers have social media accounts. 71% of use more than one of these sites. 93% of teens are online. The audience that comes with these numbers on social media platforms and websites owned by teens isn’t nothing. Even one follower is an audience. As a social media influencer, you have the power to change some major problems in our world.
As a 15 year old blogger, I understand how it can be difficult to launch anything online and gain a following. It’s a long, trying process that you really have to want and work for. Once you get that audience, what do you do with it? Brag to your friends? Get free products? Brag some more? Or change the world?
How stupid would it be to take this power that we teen influencers have, then sit back and just watch things happen? Maybe you don’t understand just how easy it actually is to help. There are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations out there and even more campaigns through big brands, corporations, and even smaller companies and businesses. It’s easy to donate earnings to a good cause. What’s holding you back from changing the world?
As teens we know that sometimes—okay, okay, most of the time—we question those that are older than us like they’re our parents or other adults in our lives. It’s easier to learn from and trust someone who’s in our own shoes… or similar shoes. As teens online, the power and influence we have over our peers is insane. One tweet has the ability to change someone’s political beliefs or just get them to think of something in a new way. How crazy is that? That’s power. If used for good, think about the awareness we could bring to so many issues!
On my own blog and social media accounts, I have participated in a few different campaigns to make the world a better place. Most recently, the ShopStyle X Dress For Success campaign. I was able to raise money by selling products from all over the internet on my blog, and when my readers clicked on them, they were helping, too. 10% of my profits that day were sent to Dress For Success, an organization that helps women become economically independent by providing them with professional attire, tools they need for development, and empowerment to be their best in the workplace. This is an organization with offices in over 20 countries that has helped more than 850,000 women.
Another campaign that I myself did not participate in, but bloggers and social media users from all over did, was the Share A Meal campaign by Unilever to help the 16 million
children in the United States who are suffering from hunger. For every social media post tagged #shareameal, Unilever donated a meal to kids in need. See just how easy it is to help? These are small projects that don’t require too much time or effort, or even financial donations straight from your wallet (because yes, we are teens and basically broke).
So HELLO ALL TEEN INFLUENCERS: This is me, a teen influencer, telling you that you need to get out there. Make a difference in this world. Use your power for good. Participate in some campaigns, help a nonprofit, work with a company that gives back. Use your voice to make an actual impact on the world.
Cathleen Slagle is a high school student and blogger. She enjoys photography, reading, Netflix, and writing. Follow her adventures over at classycathleen.com.