Tommy and I have recently attended some amazing events together, one of them being the AIDS Walk New York 2014 walking with the NOH8 Campaign. He is a dear friend that I adore, and I have known him from the beginning of my journey into the social media world. Though Tommy keeps busy, he still finds the time to participate in great causes or attend events.
Tommy has always had a passion for advocacy and a deep desire to help others. He looks to make a difference when and where he can. Tommy and I not only share a love of philanthropy, but the entertainment field as well and how interaction and making those connections can encourage positive influence on others.
We actually thought it would be fun and a great idea to interview each other as writing and interviews is yet another thing we have in common. It is my pleasure to have all of you meet Tommy and learn about him and what he is all about.
It turns out that in this interview you will definitely get the chance to hear what Tommy has to say in great detail. Please check out Tommy on social media and you will see that you will enjoy him as much as I do.
Dana Jacoviello: Tell me about Social TV and Socially Dvoted. How did all this come about for you?
Tommy Geraci: I wish I could take credit for coming up with the name! Social TV is basically the combination of Social Media and television. For me, it was natural because I was always the one who talked to my friends about what TV shows I was watching, what music I was listening to, and what movies I had seen.
When I started on Twitter, it was a progression of my daily life. I started to talk to others about our common interests and since I have a long-standing passion for entertainment, as well as the business of it, I was automatically drawn to those who were discussing these topics. It started, shockingly, with reality TV because there were really so many funny moments to share with some of the crazy stuff that goes on. For me, I started to think, I should do this for everything I watch. Sitcoms have such great lines to share and dramas provide so many shocking moments to react to online.
I began to get responses from people who were fans of the shows I watched and we started tweeting each week, which then became friendships. I also had people tweeting me asking me what I was watching because they were interested in my tweets and I’ve had people tell me they started watching shows because of what they saw me tweeting.
From there, I started my blog, Teeco71.com, so I could communicate in more than 140 characters about the things I was interested in and then that lead to interviews and lots of Indie Music, Film, & TV interviews. A few years after that I was having dinner with my friend Carol and we started talking about how I could go in a different direction with lists highlighting what was hot, what was up and coming. I had a dream about the name Socially Devoted, which later became SociallyDvoted, and more discussions happened. My best friend then got on board and really helped to create what I was seeing in my mind as far as layout and the film content part. It’s a work in progress but I think I am getting there.
I have to say that the entertainment news show, The Insider took things to a whole new level by bringing Social TV people out from behind the computers and inviting us to events. That has been so much fun and I have met some amazing people through it.
DJ: How long have you been working in the social media networking scene?
TG: I started on Social Media at first back in 2009 and I had only joined because Ashton Kutcher was on Oprah explaining this new thing called Twitter. Oprah joined that Friday and I joined along to see what it was about and what she would tweet that weekend. I figured I would just sign up and then once I saw what it was about, I’d move on. Well, over 5 years later, I am still hooked! I had Facebook but even my involvement there became so much more amped up after Twitter.
I have met some of my best friends through Twitter, have formed business partnerships, and attended events with people who have enriched my life in ways I could never explain properly or thank them enough for.
DJ: I know you are very passionate about causes and advocating. What are the main causes that are most important to you and why?
TG: I am very passionate about the NOH8 Campaign because I feel everyone has the right to choose the life they would like to pursue. I don’t feel I can tell someone they can’t get married, as long as they are both consenting adults, in love, and good to each other, they are entitled to be happy if marriage makes them happy.
It was also the very first campaign I got involved with shortly after joining Twitter. I have done 5 or more photos and I adore Adam Bouska, his partner Jeff Parshley, and the whole NOH8 team! When I am in LA I try to visit them and attend their anniversary parties. I have walked with them twice now in NYC for AIDS Walk NY as well.
Another cause that is near and dear to me is the FRIEND Movement. It is an organization founded by my friend Ronnie Kroell and filmmaker Elliot London as a way to help people who have been bullied for any reason. As someone who was bullied as a child and even as an adult in my work environment, it is important to me to show others you can survive it, you can overcome it. Even though you may backslide or have bad days, with the right support system, you can totally deal with it! We are stronger than we think.
There were so many others like Charity: Water, which I have attended a few charity balls for with my best friend, and done fundraisers for my birthdays. There are campaigns coming up all the time like #YesAllWomen which started to give a voice to women and change the sexist image and objectifying attitude toward them.
You can find just about any cause you are passionate about represented on Social Media, which then gives you many opportunities to get involved on large and small scales. No matter how much time you have to devote or how much money you can afford to donate, you can even help simply by passing along the word about it to others.
DJ: What is it you would like to see happen with Socially Dvoted in the future?
TG: I would love for SociallyDvoted to be a place where people go to see what their favorite celebrities are up to, to find out about the projects that may be under the radar but deserve to be way above it, and a place to interact with people who have similar interests. I would like to cover events and sort of bring people along with me virtually so they can see what I see, sort of through the eyes of someone who loves and respects entertainment and entertainers.
When I was younger, I always saw myself as part of the entertainment world. Like other kids played cops and robbers, I played Entertainment Tonight. I hope to be able to do something along those lines in the Social Media/Social TV arena.
I have met so many people who work in television and film through SociallyDvoted and Social TV. I’ve learned that the behind the scenes people work just as hard, if not harder, than the people we see all the time. People from TV Land and The Insider have taught me so much about the business of the business, I’d love to pass on that appreciation I’ve gained to everyone.
I believe TV and entertainment should be social, a way to meet new people and voice our opinions.
DJ: You work a full-time job as well as doing several things on the side and attending events. How do you keep up with it all?
TG: Can you say, Coffee? No, really, it is a momentum that you build and maintain. Some days are busy at work and I have to sacrifice things on the social end, but I really try to stay involved with as much as I can because I truly love it. Being interactive on Twitter and Facebook during my favorite shows constantly brings me in touch with fans who are as enthusiastic as I am about my favorites.
I do have to juggle many times and there have been things I missed out on and felt bad about, but you have to be responsible too. I have bills like anyone else and trips I enjoy cost money too. Attending events or a live taping of shows keep me going and motivated as well.
DJ: Can people get involved with Socially Dvoted and interact or participate?
TG: People can get involved by following me on Twitter @Teeco71 & Instagram by the same name. I post videos of what I will be watching or doing for any given day so people can follow along with me. They can also visit www.SociallyDvoted.com where I post what I will be doing for entertainment each night or what I am attending.
I do try to respond to everyone so if you tweet me, we can chat.
DJ: Where do you find your inspiration and motivation?
TG: I am inspired by so many things. Mostly by my family and friends who are supportive of me and what I do. I have met so many amazing people via Social Media who add value to my life on a daily basis. Some of these friends are more like family at this point. We have fun, we disagree, we laugh, we argue a little… it’s all good.
Also, through Social Media I have gotten to know such great people who work for TV Land, The Insider, Entertainment Tonight, and OWNTV. I am forever grateful for any opportunities I am given to be around them.
Another great thing is getting to meet certain celebrities I have admired for years like Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, Kirstie Alley, Ian Somerhalder, Brian Krause, as well as various cast members from The Vampire Diaries and Once Upon a Time at conventions.
Meting people at different conventions has been equally inspiring. Convention people are so passionate about the actors and shows they love. It’s like meeting a bunch of people just like me in one place and I have made lifelong friends who are like family to me at these events. I’m actually headed to an EyeCon convention in Atlanta in a few weeks for the show Teen Wolf on MTV. EyeCon is by far my favorite of the conventions. The staff is the best and experiences are priceless to me.
From the beginning I was motivated by people like Alyssa, Ian, Kirstie, and Holly. They are involved in so many great causes. The first year I was on Twitter, Kirstie Alley did a “Tweet-a-thon” for an organization called PlayPumps and I was just so inspired by that. PlayPumps builds wells in places that have no electricity. The pumps are powered by a Merry-go-round that children play on and that pumps the water so you don’t need a power source. I also saw Alyssa give up her birthday presents and raise money for Charity: Water, which was such an amazing idea to me.
DJ: What so far in the last couple of years has stood out to you the most and that you are most proud of?
TG: I am so proud of the influence we have had as a collective in Social Media to spark change and to reach others who may need help. Some people in need just don’t know where to go or that there are resources available. Some are just too embarrassed or shy but once they connect with the right person/people, they can get the help they need.
I am also extremely proud of the friendships I have made. Really the best of the best and I know I am lucky to have them in my life. The odds of some of us becoming friends would have been next to impossible, even with Social Media, but we found each other. I am aware and grateful for that always.
I am proud of my blog and my website, neither would have happened without Social Media and the contacts and friends I have made there.
It all really comes down to connection. The good, strong ones can empower you to do the things you dreamed of but may not have had the courage to do, or maybe you thought you didn’t have time till you met this other person who is working full-time and going after their dreams too. None of us are an Island who can withstand the storms alone. We need support, friendship, guidance, advice, and just an ear to listen sometimes. I hope I have been that to the people I know and especially to the people who have been that for me. It’s like in the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy had the power all along, she just needed Glinda to point it out and remind her of it.
DJ: Where can people find you on social media?
TG: To name a few, You can find me at:
Interview by: BKO Founder, Manager, Writer, Cyber bully investigator, Motivational Speaker, Motivational mentor/coach, and host of La Bella Vita Podcast Dana Jacoviello