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).

  • Thank so much for including me in this great list! I think I personally know almost everyone on the list, which makes me very happy.

    Keep working hard and we’d love to bring you in as a guest on the Viralogy Blog.

  • Hey, thanks for including me! I love being included among all my other blogger friends, and am happy to be introduced to a few new ones too.

    Just FYI, Brazen Careerist was co-founded by Penelope Trunk, Ryan Healy and Ryan Paugh. Just didn’t want you to miss that there are two Ryans involved 🙂

  • Truly honored to be included in a list of such great bloggers. Thank you very much for your kind words and recognition (=

    I was disappointed to find out Matt wears pants too…seemed like false advertising 😉


  • Today I think The Young And The Restless:Thought Leaders Of Our Generation and Blog in the internet.

  • Wow. I’m at a loss for words. Thank all of you guys for including me on this list with such esteemed thought leaders. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Patrick a little better via Twitter and his insightful comments on my blogs, and Trace frequently turns up on MyBlogLog. Every time I stumble over here I find value, and yet for whatever reasons I haven’t added Brand Yourself to my consistent circulation. You guys stay on me please b/c you’ve all been consistently pumping out solid stuff.

    Thanks again for recognizing me. I truly appreciate it!

  • Thanks, friends. I’m a fan of this blog as well. Modite/Rebecca Thorman is one of my all time favorites since I started blogging and of course I like anyone associated with BrazenCareerist. Jun blogs for the Personal Branding Blog and his own blogs are really great, especially his video interviews. Ryan Stephens is someone who will certainly make a huge impact at some point. Everyone else I’m familiar with and agree with them on this roster.

    Nice job!

  • Trace-

    Thank you for the mention. I am honored to be in your list. It gets me pumped to see other young gunners like you tearing it up!

    bradley will

  • You guys R.O.C.K.!!!

    I’m honored to be mentioned here with some of my friends and peers from around the WWW.

    What you guys are doing with Brand-Yourself is remarkable. Looking forward to the re-release. And looking forward to seeing Pete win College Entrepreneur of the Year as well … Let’s try to rally the Brazen Community together to make that happen!


    *Thanks Rebecca for mentioning our partner is crime, Ryan Healy. Couldn’t do what we do here at without him. He keeps Penelope and I from going all A.D.D. 🙂

  • Hey Trace, I’m proud to be part of this group of young people. It’s really quite interesting that we all at least (might) know of each other. It really puts the infancy of social media into perspective–I feel like it’s a special club we are part of as leaders.

    I’ve talked to about half of you on the phone, been to all your sites, but never got the honor to meet any of you in person.

    I’d love to have a meetup with you all at some point–maybe host a panel or something. Dan has his personal branding expo coming up in Boston which is pretty cool. Under30CEO is going to be doing some big time events in the near future– keep in touch everyone!

  • Glad everyone ended up finding the article. Trace, Pete and I were inspired to put this list together when week after week, the most valuable posts we stumbled across were coming from a collection of young bloggers. Of course there are more experienced bloggers out there, but as I stated in the intro, you guys are consistently pumping out new ideas. As business structures continue to evolve i have little doubt you will all be at the forefront. So all of you, keep up the good work.

    @rebecca Thanks for pointing that out. We know Ryan Healy founded brazen as well. Somehow we forget to include his name. Embarrassing (sorry Ryan, fixing that now).

  • I am beyond honored to be included on this list of top-notch thought leaders and look forward to collaborate further with all of you as we continue our efforts.

    Thank you!

    Chris Perry

  • Thanks a ton for the inclusion on the list! Love seeing people appreciate what were trying to do with under30ceo.

    Thanks also for all your help over at Under30 Trace!

  • @Jun
    We would love to be a guest on your blog, please just let us know when.

    Thank you very much for pointing that out, we don’t want to leave anyone out!

    I keep saying the same thing. That’s my theory why so many people go to his about page…

    Will do. Thank you for the kind words and keep up the great work!

    I need to catch up on Rebecca’s blogging but thank you for coming by.

    We’re the ones who are going to change the world.

    I sometimes feel like it’s a club too and it would be a disservice to all of us if we all never actually met! Some type of meet up or get together is in order.

    Great talking to you on the phone earlier this week and thank you very much for your input and your great article.

    What you guys are doing is great and I love being a part of it. Writing for you guys allows me to expand my horizons and write about things that I’m passionate about.

    Once again, thank you to everyone on this list as you have helped us tremendously either through your blog, emailing back and forth with us and inspiring us to be the best that we can.

  • Tks for this list of very intersting people.

    I’m used to read the blog but i hanven’t seen this article before.

    Tks for all the job you did, it’s great !!!

  • Thanks for stopping by Vansnick, great to see you’re a regular reader. All the credit goes to the inspirational and hardworking professional on the list, wouldn’t be possible without them.

  • Awesome stuff, and good list. Found a couple people I didn’t know and enjoyed checking out their sites as well. Curious, what does one have to do for inclusion in this list?

  • @Taylor
    Glad that you found new content to check out. The young professionals on this list are thoughts leaders in our industry. They have made a names for themselves while building a community around their content and leadership. It is always in yours/our best interest to give credit where credit is do; a milestone to solidify ones accomplishments.

    Your site is truly impressive and I’m sad that I didn’t come across it sooner. Congrats on 3yrs of podcasting, that is something that we will be looking into soon. Maybe we can get a few pointers from you 🙂

  • @Trace

    Thanks, love the content here, keep it up! Holler if you need me, I’ll be around… 🙂