I wasn’t allowed to have IM while in grade school, I got a MySpace account secretly behind my parents’ backs, and while in high school, my friend and I pretended we were college-aged in order to get Facebook accounts. I may have started slowly, but today I am constantly connected, whether awake or asleep. I woke up today to a few Snapchats, a new LinkedIn request, four Facebook notifications, and one new tweet of mine that was favorited. I currently have four Twitter accounts connected to my phone, in addition to apps for a variety of social media accounts that I check regularly. Somewhere along the way, I became a social media expert. I just understand it innately and it’s now a part of my life.
I owe my social media expertise to my uncle, Andy. During the summer after freshman year, I interned at my uncle’s marketing firm (nepotism at its best—but to be fair, his firm was a startup so I volunteered my services free of charge). Though at the time I believed I was destined for a career in advertising, I reluctantly agreed to get to know his field, marketing, since he insisted it was better. Little did I know, his firm’s niche was social media marketing, helping companies create their online presence and begin using blogs for content marketing. The world of marketing was brand new to me, but as was this concept social media. My first assignment from Andy was to “get on everything now”: he gave me a list of almost 20 social media accounts that I needed to immediately sign up for, as well as about 10 blogs that I had to begin following. I looked at the list of unrecognizable names, like WordPress, Delicious, Reddit… and I definitely rolled my eyes when I saw Twitter.
I spent the next hour creating accounts, recording my various passwords, and beginning to read bloggers like Seth Godin. I reported back when I was ready for my next task. He explained to me just how important social media is, how it’s also a way for me to market myself to the world. He told me he receives hundreds of resumes each day—and his process for deciding which resumes to look at? He types their name into Google, and “If I can’t find them, their resume is tossed.” He told me I needed to create an online presence, brand myself, and put myself out there. That summer, I realized my absolute passion for marketing, and began using social media as a daily part of my life.
Since I am now so connected through so many channels, I now almost judge people when they jokingly ask how to make a “tweeter.” But I’ve seen the pattern so many times that it’s too predictable at this point. Someone reluctantly gets a Twitter account because their friends insisted, they have what I call “First Tweet Syndrome” where they are ridiculously self-conscious of what their first tweet should be, and then within a few weeks, they are tweeting every detail that goes through their head. Some people still make fun of social media or they have their claims that it’s ruining communication and relationships. I’ll wait for the research on these claims since personally, I enjoy making Pinterest boards and scrolling through my friends’ Instagram photos. But whether people like social media or not, I believe it’s where we are going and everyone better get on board or be left behind.
Almost every industry, company, event, and personality is now on some form of social media. Whether you don’t personally want to tweet, I think you need to understand social media in order to stay competitive and marketable. Everyone needs a job, and even if your job isn’t specifically related to using social media, you should be on social media following your own company, as well as your competitors and industry. I believe this so strongly that I even wrote an article for it on Her Campus BC last year while I was on staff: “You Really Still Don’t Have a Twitter?!” I’ve been interning for a consulting firm for the past two years running their social media accounts, but through this course, I hope to continue learning about social media in business in order to fine tune my skills and better understand its scope and influence.
So I say to you—whether you like social media or not—get on everything now.