Today’s young people spend large swaths of their day browsing social media websites, from the old giants like Facebook and Twitter to some of the new young darlings of the tech world like Snapchat and Swiipe. The purpose of these apps and properties is multifold, but many young people have taken what could have been fleeting internet fame and turned it into their lives callings. Here are three individuals who found their mission in life by means of social media.
The Everybody Eats Foundation | In 2016, Kelvin Pena made a video that would change his whole life. A Dominican young adult living in southeastern PA, Kelvin filmed himself feeding the deer at the end of his driveway, giving them names and offering them marshmallows and crackers and declaring that “everybody eats” as he offered a snack to each deer individually. Little did he know that he internet would fall in love with him and his affinity for animals. Since the “Everybody Eats” video went viral, Kelvin has proceeded to make more videos of himself and wild animals becoming friends and enjoying snacks together. With his newfound notoriety and public platform on behalf of animals, Kelvin and his family started the Everybody Eats foundation, which supplies food and support to organizations that help provide food to both animals and humans who are in need. To date, he’s helped support wildlife foundations as well as relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
We Rate Dogs | What started as a silly hobby by a bored college student has become a staple of modern cyberspace as we know it. Matt Nelson enrolled at the University of North Carolina with the intention of becoming a golf instructor, but started running a twitter account at @Dog_Rates where he comments on silly dog photos and rates them between a 10 and a 14 out of 10. Today, the “We Rate Dogs” empire includes a merchandise store, two mobile apps, and a well-visited blog. With upwards of 5 million followers eagerly anticipating the next “good boy” he captions, Matt decided to use his platform to help dogs in need. Weekly, Nelson tweets a picture of a dog suffering from some malady with a GoFundMe account where his loyal fans can help support the dog and its family. Matt’s passion for entertaining people and keeping good dogs healthy has lead to a global effort to raise money for sick pups.
This is Duncan. He was recently diagnosed with IMPA, which unfortunately doesn’t stand for “i must pet asap.” The disease has snowballed into a wide variety of complications, but Duncan has remained strong. He is 14/10 and u can help him by clicking belowhttps://t.co/GJefnVWgZ8 pic.twitter.com/WSA088sAoK
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) January 12, 2018
Deaf-initely Dope | A black kid from Atlanta, Matt Maxey was born with significantly reduced hearing and struggled to learn to use his voice and listen to teachers as they transmitted a microphone feed directly into his hearing aid. Maxey didn’t learn sign language until he attended college at Gallaudet University, the nation’s premier institution of higher learning for the deaf and hard of hearing. After dropping out of college, Maxey took on odd jobs to pay the rent, and in his spare time, he filmed himself on a smartphone signing the lyrics to rap and hip hop songs. Slow by slow, Maxey’s efforts picked up steam on the internet, and today, he runs Deafinitely Dope, which helps educate children of color in ASL within the context of modern music. Maxey has also served as an ASL interpreter for international rapping sensation Chance the Rapper and daily helps break the barriers that separate Deaf youth from hip hop culture.