About eight months ago, I walked across the stage as the emcee called my name at LSU’s commencement ceremony. The only thought going through my mind at the time was “What now?” I continued to spend the next few weeks applying for jobs that I thought I was more than qualified for. You see, even though I had just graduated, I have been constantly employed since I the summer I turned thirteen. I figured I had a proven work ethic but, like most graduates, I ran into that frustrating question, “How am I supposed to gain specific experience if no one will hire me?” The first week of June, I found my answer. Internships.
I began interning for LSU Press as their lone Social Media intern. At first it seemed like a daunting task to manage multiple social media platforms. In the beginning months, I focused on making sure our social media was consistently updated in order to increase our social media presence and in hopes that the consistency would increase followers. I read countless book reviews, transformed them into poignant 140 character posts, and scheduled them to be “socialed.” Outside of my scheduled internship hours, I would attend book signings and fundraisers, such as “Bistro for a Cause,” in hopes of finding more social media fodder.
As the homecoming season approached I planned our first-ever social media photo campaign to promote the release of the updated Mike the Tiger: The Roar of LSU.. With the help of University Relations, I enlisted multiple LSU personalities and organizations, such as President F. King Alexander, Student Government President John Woodard, Todd Graves, LSU Cheerleaders, and Zeta Tau Alpha, to help build the hype around this fantastic Tiger tell-all. The tremendous exposure that the photo campaign offered inspired more social media campaigns to follow. In the past seven months, we have held three book giveaways (enter to win our current giveaway here: Porter Shreve’s “The End of the Book”) and actively participated in University Press Week. Over all, this consistent activity has led to a 71 percent increase in our social media following.
Aside from the technical experience I have gained in the past few months, I’d like to share a few insights about internships in general. I have learned that as a social media intern, you will see a dramatic decrease in your level of interest when it comes to your personal social media accounts. My Facebook and Twitter have become something that I read and my Instagram has ceased production with the exception of the occasional post of my precious 3-year-old German shorthaired Pointer. Additionally, I have found that there is never a more appropriate time to ask questions or to explore your creativity than when you are an intern. Since I am only in the office a few hours every week, it is important that I feed my curiosity by asking questions in order to keep abreast with office happenings. Intern questions also offer a unique, unadjusted point of view that often leads to creative, fresh ideas. Finally, take your internship seriously. If you’ve accepted an internship, you’ve signed up to learn from your experiences. It is important to realize that your internship is what you make of it and the wealth of knowledge you will gain is a real advantage.