Before I graduated college, I held an internship with a business incubator at California State University, Fresno, as its public relations specialist. The Lyles Center taught me quite a bit about one’s stereotypical internship — trust me, an internship isn’t necessarily just all about stuffing envelopes and licking stamps.
Rather, an internship can be whatever it is you make it out to be.
Am I still working with the Lyles Center? No.
Did I find a job thanks to the Lyles Center? Yes.
There are a few things you should know/do, in order to increase your chances of finding employment after (or during) that internship:
If you remember nothing else, remember this — With persistence, you can make things happen.
In high school, I remember hearing girls tell each other “T.M.I.” when one would tell a little “too much information” about themselves to their group of friends. The girls would giggle and move on to their next class. In high school, I remember hearing about this Web site called “Facebook.” It was supposedly the new and cool thing to do, but was so mysterious because (at the time) you had to have an “.edu” e-mail to register for an account. Now, as most of us know, Facebook is open to any and every type of person. From the middle-age mother in New York to the middle school student in New Mexico, anybody can create a profile and potentially give out “too much information” to the world. When the Internet is involved, however, it could be difficult to simply giggle and move on from being guilty of T.M.I.
I had the pleasure of reading an excerpt from Scott Rosenberg’s book, Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, and Why it Matters. Co-founder of the entertainment Web site, Salon.com, Rosenberg writes in the introduction of Say Everything about the infamous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and how the power of blogging slowly brought an emotionally crumbling world back together.
Rosenberg goes on, in his first chapter, to tell the story of a pioneer blogger, Justin Hall, and how he was not afraid to “put everything out there” on the Internet. Inevitably, Hall had faced some emotional breakdowns as a result of his freely posting too much information. Hall, however, did find hope in the midst of everything, making a striking comeback and becoming highly recognized, in the end.
One thing I found interesting is that Rosenberg comments that “Web content was ‘dead'” at the time of the collapse of the World Trade Center. He goes on and says that at the time of the Internet’s collapsing, many in the media believed that it also took down developing ideas. At the time of the September 11 attacks, however, it grew evident that the public ran to the Internet to find great comfort and solace in times of crisis. While half of society, it seemed, ran to the Internet to blog and share what was happening in New York, the other of half ran to the Internet to read what was going on and know that they weren’t alone.
It’s interesting that weblogs provide a source wherein people can create more “real” stories that can have great effect on others. That is to say, a lot of what people say on weblogs can very easily be filtered out in mainstream media.
With the story of Justin Hall, Rosenberg seems to go further with this idea that it’s fine to share what’s going on around you because there is always somebody there who will listen. Hall, however, to have shared too much, which led me to think: Can you truly expose too much of yourself on the Internet? Is it harmful to be completely open about yourself?
According to Rosenberg, Hall enjoyed sharing to people what probably wouldn’t make it through mainstream media filtering. While I believe that exposing nudity of yourself and graphic details about previous lovers, etc, is a bit extreme to be sharing on the Internet, I simultaneously believe we’re all capable of it to an extent through the use of modern-day social networking sites (Facebook and Myspace especially).
These sites can help us in showing that we have nothing to hide about ourselves, but give too much information and these sites can harm us if potential employers find us exposed on a Web site.
The public is always going to want to listen, I believe. I think Rosenberg is saying that blogging is an important means to reach out to others but don’t abuse it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “oversharing.”
It’s easy to be laughed at for sharing “T.M.I.” on the Internet.
It’s not always easy to move past it, once you’ve been found guilty of it.
I assumed that all college students viewed social media in the same manner: Facebook is the main source of interaction and the easiest way to make friends. To college students, I assumed, friendship was truly validated by accepting a friend request on Facebook.
I assumed incorrectly.
Over the past two weeks, I conducted a series of interviews with students of California State University, Fresno, to try and gain a true understanding of why college students use social media.
I was able to obtain responses from six students, but only four of them were willing to give their answers on camera. The input I received was interesting and proved that many students are more knowledgeable about social media and social networking than one might expect.
What types of social media do you use and why?
At the start of each interview, the student was asked which social networking websites he or she was an active user of. Aside from the popular Facebook and Twitter, many students are active users of MySpace and Tumblr. Two of the students said that they have Flickr and Xanga accounts, but rarely log onto either website.
The second part of the question grew the most interesting, as each student gave his or her reasoning for using these social tools. Overall, the six students that participated, used social networking to simply keep up with their friends. For these students, social networking has become a platform by which one person can communicate to a multitude of people.
How do you believe other students are using social media?
“Without Facebook, I don’t know how I’d get through college,” one student said in her interview. “I think other students find comfort in knowing that there’s a place where they can post their feelings and somebody is going to listen to them.”
The common theme in the responses I received was that social media offers college students a channel to vocalize their opinions and feelings. Students are comforted in knowing that somebody is going to listen to what they have to say.
While one student believed that social media (Facebook, specifically) was a platform for college students to waste their time and “rot in front of a computer screen,” most interviewees were aware that social media is going to play a large factor in their futures.
Here are some of the responses students told me:
Should social media be incorporated into the classroom setting?
There were mixed reviews on this topic: while some students believed that social media should become part of curricula, others believed that it should be kept a separate entity, something for personal use.
Most students believed that social media shouldn’t be part of a professor’s lesson plan, but should be made available for students to have open communication about the class itself. Trisha Rodriguez, a child development major at Fresno State, believed that social media could be used as a communication channel for students to obtain clarity in the classroom. She proposed a Twitter account be created for a specific class, or a Twitter list (with a hashtag) that would allow students to ask class-related questions and get short, quick responses.
Overall, students believed that social media shouldn’t be completely ignored. They each commented that social networking would make a nice addition to the classroom setting, but (depending on the specific class) should not be a part of the curricula.
Here are some of the responses students told me:
How do you believe the job market is effected by social media, if at all?
I was surprised by the amount of awareness each student had when it came to their perception of others on the Internet. Most students said that they knew one needed to be careful of how they presented themselves online, as it could effect their getting employed with any company.
“You need to be able to censor what information you put online,” said Allyson McCaffrey, psychology major at Fresno State. “A picture of you, drunk, at a party can paint a negative image of you.”
One student believed, however, that employers should show respect for their employees and completely ignore how that person is presenting themselves on the Internet.
Overall, students were aware that employers are now using social media as part of a background check on potential employees, before (and during) employment. While Facebook was once considered a simple social website, it can now be considered a large contender in how easily you get hired.
Here are some of the opinions students had on social media in the job market:
Students seemed to have a strong grasp on the severity of social media in our lives. They believe that it can be used in both a selfish and professional manner. Overall, I found that students believed social networking websites to be communication platforms.
College students have a lot to say–they simply want a place to be heard.
I recently had the opportunity to interview one of the professors in the Mass Communication and Journalism Department at California State University, Fresno. Professor Betsy A. Hays sat down with me last week and discussed her view on how the public relations industry is evolving with the developing world of social media.
In her 11 years working with Fresno State, Professor Hays believes that we now live in a world where communication channels are practically endless. She believes that the media needs public relations professionals more than ever, as a means to receive information.
The most important thing, however, is content. If you don’t provide the world with valuable content, nobody is going to care.
Throughout the course of her interview, Professor Hays discussed the following topics:
– How has the field of public relations evolved since the development of social media?
– Should social media be incorporated into the classroom setting?
– What are some good ways to utilize social media to promote one’s own personal brand?
– Should teachers and students interact on social networking websites?
The video is only a five-minute clip of a 30-minute interview, displaying only some of her responses. Other portions of the interview will be posted at a later time.
I apologize to any readers of mine if I have left you feeling stranded.
Fear not! I am returning here to my desk and preparing for another semester at California State University, Fresno with much-needed Internet use accompanying me. That being said, most of the blogging you’ll see over the next few months I hope will bring you joy. In addition to joy, I hope that someone will find some insight to different aspects of social media and its use in personal branding and marketing strategies.
If I am able to reach out to at least one person in the world, I feel that I have then made at least one change in the world. That is all I can ask for.
This course has taught me a lot about both media writing and utilizing multimedia to enhance such writing.
Before registering for this course, Mass Communication and Journalism 10 (MCJ 10), I was raised to write in a very eloquent and elaborate style as an English major. After changing majors, however, it grew apparent that changing my writing style was going to be a major challenge for me.
Throughout the course, my drafts were returned with many of the same comments and responses: “try and cut down the flowery language,” and “don’t be so academic.”
Ironically enough, my writing started off too ‘academic.’
It was hard to get to the point (as you might be able to tell in some of my blogs), but, regardless, I enjoy writing.
Below, I’ve attached an online portfolio of revised work that I’ve written throughout this semester. It’s been an interesting semester that has really picked at the social media side of my brain. I don’t regret it, however.
In the attached portfolio, you’ll find my revised work of the following types of writing, in this order:
Again, this class a been a bridge that I have just finished crossing. I am now faced with the long road ahead, hoping that I won’t be as “academic” on the journey.