By Josh Skinner
Journalism is a field filled with rampant rejection, constant cancellations, and occasional part time occupation in the same way that on a whim, someone might give change to a homeless man. I’ve been in these journalistic streets for a couple years now and am comfortable with this lifestyle choice the way a frog in a pot of water is comfortable. This experience seems to be true for most of my millennial brothers and sisters in this job environment.
To get leads or to get laid in a world where human connection and interaction are increasingly done through mediums of convenience, you have to be everything this sentence isn’t, clean, and concise. Did journalism and the art of interviewing make me better at talking to people in person? Did Tinder make me better at convincing people to sit across from me? These rhetorical questions become that way when we examine both the social and productive environment that we live in.
My fellow generation and I own the struggle to ironically like things before they become too ironically liked and become mainstream. We are also half as likely in most regions to own the struggle of having to wake up everyday to go to work. We may be twice as likely to not have a livelihood, but we have a deep squad of 1.8 billion people (people whose age ranges from 15-30). Which is a lot of folks to be struggling in this world to find basic employment.
I tend to think that we have a few tricks up our sleeves that make us better than our older competition in our respective fields. The old guard, whose gray hairs are brought on by old age; not the constant stress and existential dread that stem from the fact that social media allows us to quantify our exact worth in this life down to a tee, are not ready for us.
Which is why I think it’s so necessary to celebrate some of the skills and tricks that have made us harder, better, faster stronger. In the same way that Yeezy takes the sufficient but underwhelming music of the past and makes it his own, us young folks have to take the jobs of the past and reinvent them with our own greatness.
I discovered and honed my journalistic skills through trying to differentiate myself from the cesspool filled with dudebros and manguys that is Tinder. As we, the Millennial generation, get more and more advanced in our careers, we tend to make up more of the workforce and tend to have access to information that journalists need. However one of our most common traits is to get cold sweats when confronted with the prospect of a phone call with a stranger.
As I’m writing this my friend accidentally overpaid 2 grand on her credit card and is exploring every possible solution that doesn’t involve a simple phone call to her bank, informing them that she didn’t want to do that.
This is why to be a journalist, one has to master both the cold call through a phone and the cold message. A cold call in my experience works best with anyone over the age of 30. For anyone not in this demographic you must slide into the DMs. Sliding into the DMs is referred to as “sending a direct message to someone over social media with the expressed desire of acquiring some booty”.
Yo Gotti made a song about it, and most people will at some point have to at least earn a passing grade in electronic communication in order to maintain some form of relationship be it romantic or not. But the idea that you need to use DMs as a way of achieving your goals is an inherently millennial thing. Any journalist worth their salt has to get a potential contact or source hooked and in through a succinct but enticing message.
So yes, Tinder is the worst. This is known. But by subjecting myself to constant rejection I have learned to feel people out through text message. I have learned to present myself and my general pitch in 50 words. I have learned that myself and my story that I’m trying to pitch might just not be interesting to the outside world. And that’s ok, not everyone is going to pick up what you’re putting down.
So take a lot of shots on net, maybe you’ll get one in, maybe you’ll land a big story, or a huge raise. The art of sliding into the DMs is one that is becoming common in the real world as we all grow up and start having responsibilities. Embrace it. Enjoy it. And keep swiping right on your dreams.