Rex Woodbury: How To Harness Your Voice For Good As An Influencer
By: Alyssa Jorgensen
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Social media influencers, by the very nature of their position, have a unique opportunity that most do not: a social outreach by the thousands, and an audience to help make their voices heard.
Rex Woodbury — part influential LGBTQ+ social media figure, part San Francisco Private Equity investor, part athlete, and part Ivy League graduate — has not only grown a sizable and loyal following on his Instagram page (currently 229K followers strong), but has turned his audience into a community rallied around positive messages of inclusivity, health and wellness, self-love, and human rights activism, utilizing his platform to create social change for the better.
“Social media makes the world a smaller and more connected place,” Woodbury told Influencer News. “Social networks used to be about showcasing the highlights of your life. People aren’t posting the worst parts of their day, they’re posting the best parts of their day. Now, we’re trending away from that a bit — authenticity is extremely important, and we are trending towards showcasing what we are passionate about and what we care about.”
Woodbury started his journey as a social media influencer just after he graduated from Dartmouth College in 2016 and moved his life to New York City, embarking upon his professional career in finance. His platform began organically and authentically — posting intimate content on social media regarding his identity as a queer man, and making himself vulnerable to both his friends and followers with the ideal of empowering other queer individuals searching for acceptance and encouragement. A defining moment in Woodbury’s rise as an influencer came when he told his coming out story for Breakthrough US, which went viral on Facebook. Within a few weeks, Woodbury’s social accounts took off, and his hope of harnessing his voice for good was realized.
“I grew up in an accepting community,” Woodbury said, addressing his experience of coming out within a progressive sphere. “But many people do not have that luxury, especially in their everyday lives. But they do have that on social media. Social media shows them that they have a future.”
Now, Woodbury’s commitment to unapologetically document his life as a queer man has made him an example to hundreds of thousands. He and his boyfriend, fellow Instagram influencer Ian Spear, have created a vision of normalcy around their lives together through the romantic moments they capture and share with their audience: from weekend getaways to Los Angeles, to colorful picnics in Paris, to cozy mornings at their apartment in San Francisco, to hiking adventures throughout South Africa and Switzerland, and an Insta-feed worth of more.
Woodbury and Spear do not simply post out content to their audiences, however, but connect with their fans on personal levels.
“People have DM’d me asking how to come out,” Woodbury said. “They will follow up after to tell me how well it went.”
Woodbury’s involvement in creating social change did not stop at LGBTQ+ activism, however. Woodbury and Spear have since created a social impact blog entitled “Two Hands,” where they aim to “share, discuss, and raise awareness about issues important to [them].” These issues include environmental conservation, helping SF’s homeless population, and fighting for LGBTQ+ equality for all members of the community.
Through the means and reach of social media, Woodbury hopes to continue his activist mission moving forward.
“Social media is here to stay, and it’s not going away," Woodbury said. "It is the most powerful way that people consume news and media. I want to continue to be a voice in it, and to continue to be a part of it to incite real change and to spread the ideas I care about through society."