Tweet Today, Job Tomorrow

Until today, I hadn’t tweeted for a week.

Sadly, I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Every day, it becomes more apparent: today’s interns absolutely have to love and understand social media. It’s no longer a ‘should.’ It’s a necessity.

Talk of internships at Drake is constant. Paid or not, local or across the country, no matter what the opportunity, skill in social media is vital. Clearly we know the importance of social media from reading blog after blog about its connectedness, networking, information and rules.

However, as the climate of journalism evolves, we are the next step in the changes.
We, the students immersed in learning our craft, are the future.
We are the leaders in training.
We are the people employers are looking for.

The Drake Media Gigs blog lists intern opportunities , the majority of journalism jobs placing social media high on their requirements, just like the rest of the world’s communication intern-seekers. A Careerealism poll shows the top 77 percent of people’s preferred job searching tools as LinkedIn and Twitter, with recruiters, informational interviews and other humans coming in at a measly 9 percent.

Our age group is getting hired to do jobs that current employees can’t. This is our edge, and as many of us near our senior year and the ominous world outside college, we need to stop just thinking about social media and get out our laptops. Forget asking how long Twitter will last and show that you can adapt to what’s happening now; show that you’re a quick learner and can succeed at what your employer needs.

To take it a step further, how do we market ourselves to show that not only are we taking journalism courses and playing an active role on campus, but participating in the realm of social media? Try adding social media to the ‘skills’ section of your resume, cleverly inserting a mention of your prolific blog into your cover letter, and adapting your Twitter experiences into anecdotes at your interview. If you don’t have all of those, you better get going…myself included.

How are you going about marketing yourself? What do you think about this new opportunity to excel in a booming form of journalism? How often do you blog, tweet, facebook?

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10 responses to “Tweet Today, Job Tomorrow

  1. I facebook more than I tweet, but I know the two should be reversed. I think that in order for someone to market themselves effectively, personal items on Google (besides a blog!) should be slowly phased out, along with information that doesn’t pertain to the target audience someone is trying to reach.

    I agree with inserting your blog or online portfolio into a resume makes an individual one step ahead of the rest. I do think, though, that in order to sell yourself, one has to be sell-able: multiple internships, connections, and advanced knowledge of technological media is essential. No employer is going to take a second look at an online resume that has too much white space.

  2. Matt Vasilogambros

    I completely agree. Selling yourself not only through a solid and built resume, but also through electronic means would make any job candidate desirable. That’s why professors in the J-school have hammered it in our heads to that we need to know, understand and utilize electronic communications including Web sites, Twitter accounts and other social media. That means, also, that we need to put the effort in to constantly update those Web sites. This is where I fail. With school and the newspaper, I have no time to constantly update my Twitter account. My Facebook account – the social medium that I understand the most – hasn’t been updated in a long time. For college students, time is a huge issue.

  3. After I read the first two sentences my immediate thought was “Me too! My twitter feed on my blog literally says 1 month ago on my last update.” I am not proud of this however.

    Inman will love me for saying this too, but I am convinced that social media is important. I signed on to my Twitter just now to send a little post out there. Granted, I’m still working on what I should be tweeting, so for now I’ll just promote my J70 blog. But my next step is to make a Web site. As silly as some of the stuff sounds, if it’s important now, it’ll be important later. And by that I mean that even if Twitter isn’t around forever, what comes with it is new stuff to learn and new social media to play with and people need to see that we are an adaptable generation. This is also the reason I feel like I need an iPhone. I’m definitely behind on that technology. Plus I love my phone and I think if I could have Twitter right there, I’d use it more. That’s my theory.

    • I agree, Kate, on your point about adapting to the constant flow of new technology. Is it just me or does it seem like our adaptability is expected to be more significant and quicker than previous generations?

  4. Like Kate, I am convinced that social media is important–I made myself set up a Twitter account a few months ago–yeah, I caved. I am even following like 40 people (all celebrities and people who inspire me,) but I have yet to actually “tweet.”

    Maybe I’m in denial, or I’m just slow when it comes to change, for some reason I can’t do it. So it’s like I’m just using a space of Twitter and not using it to its fullest ability. Today, I actually thought about tweeting something when my friend set up an account sitting right by me and mentioned how “blank” my page was. But, I still couldn’t do it.

    Let’s just say that tweeting is on my to-do list for now. Along with getting up-t0-date on all the other media advancements out there. Facebook alone doesn’t cut it anymore.

  5. Are we overdoing the hard-sell on social media in the j-school? Sometimes — often — I get the sense that students are sick-and-tired of hearing about it. A commenter on another post said: “I’m spending thousands of dollars and fours years of my life learning how to blog.”

    I sure hope we’re doing more than just teaching our students to blog and that we aren’t sacrificing our long SJMC tradition of teaching first-rate reporting, writing and editing.

    But is it overkill with social media in the j-school?

    • Oh, I think we’re learning much more than just blogging! (That was me.) What I meant in that context was that I’m spending all this time and money learning to blog as a journalist. So I know what libel is, I know how to use proper grammar, I know the SPJ Code of Ethics. After all that, how unfair is it that I’m working to get a degree in this stuff, people who just post rants from their couch are getting just as much/more attention online? Not cool.

      I don’t think the attention paid to social media is too much. (See post below about how I’ve been convinced to begin tweeting.) My hope is that the fact that we DO have a journalism degree will pay off and that when people eventually get fed up with the poorly done, MySpace-esque blogs, they’ll go to ours as a trusted source.

      Does anyone else feel the same way? I’m not being too optimistic am I?

      • Jill Van Wyke

        I agree completely. In the cesspool that is the Internet, readers prize authoritative, verified, responsible, ethical journalism.

        That’s one reason why the nyt.com has a traffic ranking of about 100 on the entire Internet, trumping partisan blogs like dailykos.com (ranked 3,900th) and michellemalkin.com (5,600th). (Data from alexa.com)

        When so much out there is questionable, we value a trusted guide that can help us find truth.

  6. I don’t think we’re being oversold on social media’s value.

    First off, we don’t spend much class time exploring it, but instead we’re told to do it and given the resources we need. Yes, we’ve made Twitter, Delicious, Google Reader, and other accounts in class, but now it’s up to us.
    Stressing the importance works, because it IS important right now, no matter if we like it or not.

    Also, in all of my classes, the online component is integrated, not over-stressed. I feel like I’m still learning the skills aimed for in each j-school course.
    Of course, I could be wrong.

  7. *Twitter account activated*
    Literally. I just signed up four… now five minutes ago. I know, I know I was late jumping on the bandwagon. It’s just that when the whole thing started, all I could think about what “who cares what I’M doing/thinking every five minutes? No one is going to check this stuff!”

    I admit defeat. I’ve been convinced. I’ll now be tweeting all day every day.

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