Social Media Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Emily Amick of @EmilyInYourPhone Is Helping To…

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Social Media Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Emily Amick of @EmilyInYourPhone Is Helping To Change Our World

You will find your people. I have never done any advertising and didn’t get any media coverage until I had over 100k followers. I put out good enough content that people would tell their friends. It might not be easy to grow on insta but you gain followers who are there for you!

As a part of our series about leaders who are using their social media platform to make a significant social impact, we had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Amick.

Emily Amick is a lawyer, journalist, former counsel to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the person behind the viral political instagram account @EmilyinYourPhone. People look for no BS political analysis and the tools to translate hopelessness into action.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

During the Trump administration, like many other dogmoms I was super active on instagram sharing pictures of my adorable pets. What I started to notice was a huge growth in conservative instagram influencers. These women were building extremely strong, large communities but talking about politics and spreading misinformation in the instagram aesthetic. The conservatives were reaching out to women where they were hanging out — insta. Dems were not doing the same thing. So rather than complain about it I decided to try to do it myself!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?

After the Highland Park and Uvalde attacks, I had thousands of moms coming to me asking what they can do to stop the gun violence epidemic. While there are many wonderful advocacy organizations who have been working on this issue for years, for busy moms who are trying to get food on the table, many don’t have the bandwidth to join a local group and go to meetings. But they wanted to do more than donate money or sign a petition. I created scripts that people could use to call their members of Congress and we were driving upwards of 4,000 calls to the hill per day focused on achievable change. Many people argued that there was no way Senate Republicans would support any gun reform. When bipartisan gun reform passed for the first time in 30 years, my followers got to see that focused citizen action can drive change where no one thought it was possible and feel empowered by being a part of that.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve committed many millennial faux pas. From the millennial pause to excessive skinny jeans and a side part. And years into this project I still can’t figure out how to TikTok correctly. But my experience has been that being honest with my followers about my limitations has made them connect with me more. My most popular stories are always ones where I admit to a spelling error. I think people have had enough of people trying to pretend they are perfect on the internet, no one is!

You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

My number one piece of career advice is to only go to law school if you want to be a lawyer. But second, I advise folks to think of a career as driven by a combination of knowledge, skills and passions. A lot of advice centers around finding a career you are passionate about, but I think it’s just as important to think about the knowledge you want to use and (frankly most importantly) the skills you want to employ in your work.

Ok super. Let’s now jump to the core focus of our interview. Can you describe to our readers how you are using your platform to make a significant social impact?

A lot of people feel disconnected from politics, that it is something that happens elsewhere but doesn’t impact their daily lives. I help folks connect the dots — politics defines everything from the quality of the air we breath and water we drink, to what our kids learn in school and how safe they are there, to how people are able to practice their religion and be protected from other people enforcing their religion on all of us.

I take big, tough issues and break them down without hysteria. My followers are hungry for change and want guidance on how to be part of the solution. Right now, political discussions online feel combative but I am empowering folks — many of whom are women — to feel part of the conversation and to see the value and potential of their voice.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause? Was there a tipping point that made you decide to focus on this particular area? Can you share a story about that?

I was raised with a heart for civic service, and while I’ve worked in lots of different subject matters — my job has always centered around helping a community and trying to improve institutions to make all our lives better. As someone who has experience in journalism, politics and law I realized I was uniquely positioned to serve as a political communicator. And I love instagram! So for me it started as something small that I really enjoyed doing and it has grown organically from there!

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

I want to see more people involved in politics, making their voices heard and pushing politicians to reflect our values. I think people would be more apt to do so if they felt that politics was responsive and the deck wasn’t stacked against them. Three things I’d like to see are (1) Ranked choice voting; (2) control dark money; (3) more fusion parties.

Why do you think social media in particular has the power to create social change and create a positive impact on humanity?

Social media is the most powerful public square in humanity’s existence — it can be used for our betterment or our deficit. It allows information about individual incidents to be connected to broader systemic issues in a way that connects with people. It can also serve to magnify misinformation incredibly quickly. Politicians need votes to get elected and they understand how social media drives cultural views. Social opinions on political issues are constant evolving, and

What specific strategies have you been using to promote and advance this cause? Can you recommend any good tips for people who want to follow your lead and use their social platform for a social good?

I think a lot of people are scared to share about political issues they care about because they feel like they don’t know enough. Yes! You should absolutely seek out reliable fact-based news to stay informed. But your political opinions are underlied by your values — and you should feel comfortable sharing your values with your community. They follow you for you!!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

1. You will find your people. I have never done any advertising and didn’t get any media coverage until I had over 100k followers. I put out good enough content that people would tell their friends. It might not be easy to grow on insta but you gain followers who are there for you!

2. When insta says do reels, do reels. I can put the same content out in a few different ways and it will always get the most views with whatever modality the platform is prioritizing.

3. Be true to yourself! You have to put in a lot of hours to build a social media presence, it’s way too hard to do that without being your authentic self. And then you will build an audience that likes you for you.

4. Some people will be mean, but more will be incredibly kind! I have gotten death threats, and it’s human nature to focus on those instead of the thousands of wonderful messages I’ve received. But people have been incredibly kind offering their ideas thoughts and encouragement. And I’ve made a bunch of in real life friends!

5. It’s harder than it looks. Posting a ton on social media seems easy, but producing content 7 days a week all year is really tough! Set reasonable expectations.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

All the people reading this are influencers. You are loved by family and friends who respect your opinion. You have community, online and in real life, who care about your opinions and your values. I can’t tell you the amount of DMs I’ve received from people who have 200 followers and say, someone who I didn’t even know looked at my insta just told me they registered to vote because they saw my stories! Or that they helped their mom review her ballot. Or that their friends have changed their vote because of information they’ve provided.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a power lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Rashida Jones, President of MSNBC.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Please find me at @EmilyinYourPhone on instagram!

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

Social Media Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Emily Amick of @EmilyInYourPhone Is Helping To… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.