This Millennial Influencer Believes The Key To Online Success Is To 'Resonate'

Alex Wolf comes through with a few tips on how to maximize your social media impact.


"Influencer" is a buzzword that has been iterated and reiterated time and time again as social media has altered the way we receive news, become put on to brands, and like what we like.

Alex Wolf is one of the many millennial influencers out there, and placing her stamp on the social media game one post at a time and with masterful creations like her book Resonate: For Anyone Who Wants To Build An Audience. What some of you might not know, the award-winning author has been on the internet for as long as she can remember, even before it developed into the beast it is today. Alex began her brand-building prowess with not-so-humble beginnings as the previous founder of Boss Babe, the well-known mecca for all things entrepreneurial (and with an incomparable female-focused following to match).

Alex WolfThe Culture Supplier

Shortly after the brand took off, Alex realized that it just wasn't something that she was passionate about anymore and opted to sell the business. She chose to focus on things that mattered to her, like human connection and how the advancements of technology affect it. In her book, Alex provides a detailed breakdown on how social media culture has contributed to the resounding feeling of loneliness and why authenticity will always be in. "If you use it (social media) the way we are conditioned to now, to only show off and follow people broadcasting the most flattering moments of life, the sensation of loneliness will crawl right over you like a demon," Alex tells xoNecole.

For her, one's power in the digital age will always lie in their ability to resonate.

Alex Wolf


No matter how advanced the algorithms of the Internet become, they just can't seem to master the science of resonating connection. Businesses like Snapchat create ads done in poor taste that actually appeal to none of our interests. And in attempts to compete with the big dogs we, the artists, the influencers, the people, curate perfect feeds to create magazine-worthy aesthetics and drop quotes from dead poets that pair perfectly with an artsy picture of oranges (swiped from Pinterest of course). I'm not judging, I've done it too. The corporate rat race has been replaced with a social media rat race of sorts.

We pine over likes and followers and attend webinars on "engagement"; but it seems the more we post and scroll, the lonelier we feel. Are we missing the whole point? "To be alive is to share together the experience of being human – we all get to feel what it's like to want, to wish, to have, to lose. The more we remember that, the less we'll panic when it feels like we're going through this alone," Alex shares.

Somehow we've allowed these screens and the images on them to isolate us into believing that everyone else is exempt from the daily human struggle to live, freely and happily. The most popular and influential of influencers are not those that portray an attitude of perfection, but rather the Luvvies and the Issa Raes of the world that trade in "perfection" for "authenticity." In her book Resonate, Alex notes that we can get away with skipping some of the most popular books on marketing if you replace them with ones on psychology and anthropology.

Artists like Cardi B built their fan bases simply by being themselves - unfiltered, omitting the need for marketing strategies and overly-produced social media accounts. They hop on a live with the babies running around in the background and do what they do. Their audiences connects with them simply because they can relate and see themselves in the stories they tell through their art.

Resonating connections are fostered and created from those "Oh, you too girl?" moments. The split second where you pause and nod in agreement, realizing that someone else gets it. The involuntary "mmmph" you let out when taking in the latest fire mixtape with punch lines so vivid that they literally punch you in the gut. It's that same resonating connection that created a stan out of Stan (think 2000 Eminem).

Alex reminds us that it's about being compassionate with ourselves about our truths, and to not just wear our truths on the inside, but outside as well. "It works as signage. Showing how accommodating you are with your humanness, which will attract others who will be accommodating with it as well."

Success happens when you give people no choice but to accept you as you are.

Creatives and Authenticity

The 26-year-old Brooklyn native has managed to navigate adulting thus far without a "real" job. For that, her inclination towards creativity receives all the blame. And by extension, as a creative, she believes that the concept of "professionalism" is beside the point when trying to change the world or be authentic. She's done her fair share of research, in combination with lived experience, and concludes that much of how the world runs has nothing to do with professionalism. While she isn't suggesting that we walk around cursing like a sailor, rocking your name chain and Jordans, she is asking that if that's who you are, please bring her into the room with you when you decide that you're ready to stake your claim in the world and find your tribe.

Speaking of our tribe, we all have that friend with the painfully dope work who refuses to put themselves out there and maximize their potential. In Resonate, Alex refers to this period in the creative career path as the Starving Artist Phase – you know the stage where you associate making money with being evil, as if there is some type of honor in struggling because you're surviving off your last gig for the next three months. As stated by philosopher Alan Watts, there's a paradigm shift that has to take place where we realize that "money is a system of 'cosmic bookkeeping'."

It's easy to see how and why this would confuse a creative whose sole mission is to simply make dope ish, but Alex wants us to remember that the more we realize what it actually is, the less intimidating it becomes. You can still create authentically and run a profitable business while remaining free.

Alex Wolf

Building Audiences

"The way to build an audience will never change as long as the audience you're trying to build is made up of human beings." - Resonate, Alex Wolf

When we think of building an audience, whether for professional purposes or simply for enjoyment, Alex suggests we look at the last few screenshots in our phones - the memes and images we save simply because of how they made us feel. If we hope to create lasting connection, we should first ask ourselves, "Would anyone care to save this?"

We should create with passion and deliver so much value that whatever it is you create would never be easily disposed of. "It should be obvious through your effort that things like this are too nice. They were made deliberately, [not] to be thrown away or forgotten about."

Whatever it is that we put out into the world should cause our audiences to ask, "Who is this girl?" After all, we are the generation of the search engine. When you produce something meaningful, the people that like and buy our stuff feel compelled to share our work all on their own. We can omit the tacky marketing ploys and just create. Alex mentions that this approach may not automatically translate into followers and likes, but it will allow you to build a community that engages and genuinely enjoys what it is that you produce. "Don't underestimate the extent humans are willing to explore the massive complexities of the world just to find bits and pieces of them."

And now that you've built something for the people, you can sit back and watch that one follower grow to a clump of followers, and eventually develop into a cluster of followers that become a fully bloomed audience. The idea eventually becomes popular enough to exist as a separate entity and "ideas don't die," Alex emphasizes.

When we really find something that we absolutely love, we can't resist the urge to share and the internet as we know it has given us the tools to do so with the click of a button.

Alex's message as a branding afficianado is clear – stop panicking over followers. Follower counts and likes shouldn't be used as the new metric system to measure one's impact and significance. All you really need is a few people that feel you.

One resonating connection is still connection.

To keep up with Alex, be sure to give her a follow on Instagram. Purchase her book here.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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