KYC: know your customer.

slingin’ slang with Generations Y and Z

(how I feel talking to anybody 25 and under)

When your target demo for a new media startup, podcast, YouTube channel, newsletter, digital magazine, and mental health advocacy/suicide prevention outreach is the “Millennial” (12–34? 18–35? 16–16? who the hell even knows anymore?*) crowd, your behavior, thoughts, actions and speech… change.

You acquaint yourself with fluency in colloquial Millennial verbiage.

You “slay” “fr” and stay “lit” “af”, your “fit” “on fleek” at all times.

You “low key” pose for ironic, meta-candid selfies like the one below, “high key” hiding most of your face for a “sus” yet familiar look for your “squad”. Kim who? Kylie when? Katy what? Someone tell DJ Khaled: Special trending alert!

You wake up “woke” every day, “p” “hyped” to “re-up” your Klout score, trading in the commerce of social currency, in the form of a vicious cycle: like-share-retweet, lather-rinse-repeat. Be honest: this is what it’s all about.

You hustle like a silent shadow, remaining humble and long-suffering, bootstrapping your baby with bated breaths, anticipating the day your success debuts as deafening spectacle. Winning. Like Charlie Sheen.

You start listening to Drake, memorize his entire catalogue, ready to recite casual albeit relevant lyrics at the drop of a hat, or whenever you’re spurred to action by another ping in the infinite series of notifications on your unforgiving smartphone’s cold, blue glare. Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour? See? Trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers. It becomes second nature. Related: you must always be ready to tweet with your Twitter fingers.

You do it for the Gram. You do it for the Vine. You do it for the Snap.

Instead of “keeping it 100”, you start “keeping it a stack”.

Your new friends, by which you mean followers, label you “savage”.

You learn this is a compliment.

This is because you express yourself with “no filter”.

Of course, you have haters.

They must never mention your name.

If and when they do, they “hundo p” better put some “respeck” on it.

You don’t allow your haters to “done” your “wave” because, well, you’re “wavy”.

Them, “cancel” you? Less than likely.

You “stan” yourself.

You’re never found being “extra”, because that would be “trash”.

You know the difference between “bye, Felicia” and “damn, Gina”.

The end result? “TBH” you’re “v” “trill”.

You have a “dad” “aesthetic”.

Girls you don’t know “dead” start calling you “mom” and “sis”.

This is “td” good. They’ll “ship” you with Selena.

You’re “bae” “goals”.

You never say “hi”. You say “suh”.

You “finessed” this caption for the “lb/fb”.

Someday, it will pay off in the form of an IPO or leveraged buyout.

It will have been worth it. #YOLO

every high school and undergrad mentee of mine takes selfies like this…

new selfie, same SF Ali


1. Recommend this story. It helps others see the story, lets me know my work is worth writing, reading and recommending and makes me feel validated and fuzzy, because honestly, whose cold, dead heart isn’t instantly thawed and revived by the dizzying dopamine of notifications? Like, share, retweet, lather, rinse, repeat. Also, the doctors say if I don’t feel fuzzy, I’ll die, due to a rare deficiency in social currency triggered whenever my Klout score drops below 70. It’s 67 right now. Not a good look. Do you want me to die?! Didn’t think so.
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