Gabi Valladares is a child of the Internet. At 24, she works in social media marketing by day, but started her first blog Kneadle + Bread in 2010 to share her love of sewing and baking, a skill that she learned online, of course. The Jamaica Plain resident and Northeastern graduate has since moved on to a more personal platform with byGabriella.co, where she shares tips for making every day a little more entertaining, and Instagram (@gabivalladares).
Q. How did you decide to professionally pursue social media?
A. When I started college, I thought I wanted to go into journalism to be a magazine writer, but after a few classes, I decided that communications was more the route for me. We didn’t have too many social media classes when I was in school — it was still the early days — so I worked in an office at Northeastern and watched how they were forming their social media strategy. So I guess I found my way in through the higher education route.
I blog and do social media for myself so it’s now awesome that it’s become my career. At my current job, I’ve been working with Friendly’s Ice Cream, which is super fun.
Q. How do you make ice cream more social?
A. People love sharing their experiences with ice cream and I like seeing how they make their sundaes at home. I grew up with Friendly’s in Connecticut so I’ve always loved it, but then I also love gelato.
Q. Do you think you’ve found your social media “voice”?
A. Looking back through my old pictures, it’s, like, What was I thinking?, but still, I was just sharing what I love. I find that the accounts I love the most are ones that are telling a story. Now I like to use lots of bright colors so it looks consistent and follows a story line.
Q. What story do you think you’re telling?
A. One that’s fun. I like to have fun. You only have one life, so you might as well. What you don’t see behind it is that I’m also working full time and finishing my thesis and writing a ton, but these photos are only a few minutes of my day and in those few minutes I happened to choose to make lavender iced coffee.
Q. What types of opportunities do you think you’ve gained through social media?
A. I’ve met really amazing people through it, like a lot of other bloggers. There was one who used to live in California and now moved here and we’ve been friends in real life since. We never would have met if it hadn’t been for social media.
Q. Do you think it’s become less creepy to meet strangers through the Internet now?
A. It’s become more of a norm. Like when Facebook came out, I was in high school, so you had to be in college or get an invite. It was very exclusive. But now you can make an account anywhere, and anyone who has a phone or Internet can have access to social media.
Interview was edited and condensed. Rachel Raczka can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @rachelraczka.