Social Media Success Stories: 10 Thought Leaders Of Our Generation

Here at, we spend a LOT of time on the Web. One impossible trend to overlook: young people are the ones consistently pushing out new, quality content challenging the status quo. We decided to put together a list of the most influential, thought-provoking young bloggers.

Call them whatever you like – Gen Y bloggers, millennials – it doesn’t matter. As social technology continues to turn traditional business on its head, you can bet you will be seeing these names again; possibly on your paychecks.

1. Ryan Stephens: Ryan Stephens Marketing

Ryan is young but knows his stuff. He words as a media analyst for sports media challenge while running his own business, Ryan Stephens Marketing, on the side. More than anything else, Ryan makes a point to make each article original, thought provoking and open to conversation. Where many social media blogs seem to merely regurgitate the big names and blogs, Ryan brings a fresh, new voice to the arena. My personal favorite: Taking Your Blog to the Next Level.

2. Dan Schawbel: Personal Branding Blog

If you’ve heard of personal branding, you’ve heard of Dan Schawbel. Schawbel works like a dog to help people develop their personal brand and promote them online. Outside of his award winning blog, he has written a bestselling book, published the only personal branding magazine and toured the east delivering personal branding workshops. If you haven’t been there, check it out, if only to catch up with his weekly interviews with truly innovative people.

3. David Spinks: David Spinks

David Spinks is relatively new to the blogosphere but his willingness to share and converse is quickly making him popular. In fact, I first discovered his blog on a discussion board on linked in. He is a community manager at scribnia and has an undeniable understanding of social media and building relationships. Particularly, his weekly “Mentor Monday” contributions are prime examples of social networking done right.

4. Bradley Will: Bradley Will

Add Bradley to your reader if you are a young entrepreneur. In fact, add him even if you’ve felt the slightest hint of the entrepreneurial spirit. His narratives through his own entrepreneurial exploits are illuminating and extremely personal and relatable. He currently works as a social media evangelist for nextvoice247. He is also releasing a series of training videos at socialmedia altitude. To get started, read: 21 things I have learned so far this year.

5.  Rebecca Thorman: Modite

Rebecca is intelligent, thoughtful and an excellent writer. She constantly pumps out interesting content regarding Gen Y, the workplace, personal branding and career advancement. She works at, a promising start up, doing marketing, PR and social media. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing her and she revealed valuable insights regarding the job search and working for small businesses. My personal favorite on her blog: How to Decide if You Have a Good Job.

6.  Matt Wilson and Jared O’ Tool: Under 30 CEO

Our good friends over at Under30CEO are writing and inspiring Gen-Yer’s to pursue their passion. Their goal “is to make you uncomfortable enough to do something with your life.” A great read to find your new passion and learn something interesting, which is hard to come about these days.  Matt will also be contributing to our eBook so stay tuned for that as well.

7.  Matt Cheuvront: Life Without Pants

Sorry to disappoint you – but he does wear pants. It’s actually an “epic metaphor for the way life should be lived, unrestricted and without regret.” Matt’s blog is a collection of personal experiences tied and social media tips that’s quite intriguing due to his uncanny writing style to make you feel like he’s actually talking to you.

8.  Chris Perry: CareerRocketeer

Career Rocketeer is one of the fastest growing career search, career development and personal branding blogs on the web today, welcoming ambitious career entrepreneurs of all ages and professions who are always driven to “launch” their careers to higher heights. Chris is a current MBA student who also started MBAhighway which is a comprehensive niche job board and career resource website exclusively for MBA students.

9. Ryan Paugh, Ryan Healy (and Penelope Trunk): BrazenCareerist

For anyone interested in social media and how it related to the Gen-Y demographic, Penelope, Ryan and Ryan’s Brazen Careerist venture is the place to be. Together they have formed a tight knit community of some of the brightest minds in Gen-Y. They produce a lot of their own content but do syndicate from other sites to give you an all around feel for what is going on in social media.

10. Jun Loayza: Jun Loayza

Jun gives some of the most down to earth and practical advice about the “startup life” that we’ve come across. He is honest, tranparent, and he never fails to deliver concrete and useful tips. Jun is the President of and the co-Founder of As he puts it, “entrepreneurship is not a job; it’s a lifestyle.” That’s why we love him. 

Thank you to everyone on the list and everyone else who has made this possible.

This list was compiled by Trace Cohen, Patrick Ambron (@brandyourself) and Pete Kistler (@pete_kistler).

About Trace Cohen

I am currently a senior at Syracuse University double majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing at the Whitman School of Management with a minor in Information Service Techology (IST) in the iSchool. I chose Syracuse for their business school which was brand new and state of the art when i applied and enrolled. The undergraduate entrepreneurship program in Whitman is ranked #2 nationally and the ischool is ranked #1 nationally which is something I am very proud to be apart of.