Being Social with Social Media

The “social” part of “social media” has been rocking my world lately: I’ve been able to meet TONS of awesome new people through Twitter and the blogosphere.

Every new person I connect with opens my eyes to something exciting and new: I learn about new places, new blogs, new ideas, new opportunities and most importantly, new people.

One of the best examples of connecting with new people came early last week. I was looking for recent college grads to tell me about their job search process. To my happy surprise, I received a lot of response on Twitter and three extremely detailed, thought-out responses via e-mail from young professionals Kaylee Hakwins, Case Ernsting and Kira E. Young. It was refreshing to make a connection via social media that lasted longer than 140 characters. Sometimes I’m so focused on upping my follower count or getting a lot of @replies that I forget how much I can learn from those people if I dug a little deeper.

I think there’s another awesome, if more superficial, side to awesome social media connections. Hopefully I’m not the only one who has a “Twitter crush”: someone whose tweets you love to follow, find humorous or teach you something interesting. Last fall, I was elated when Grammar Girl tweeted me and commented on my blog after I mentioned her book in a post. Not really earth-shattering, but cool at the time.

For the last few days, I’ve wondered what people consider their “best” social media connection(s).  Did a blogger you idolize re-tweet your post? Did your blog or your tweets help you get the job or internship you currently hold? In what other ways have your social media relationships benefited you? As I start concentrating more on building connections and adding value to conversations, I want to hear from (and connect with!) others who might be doing the same thing.

*Brief self-promotion: If you’re looking for some kick-butt job search advice, check out the post I wrote for my journalism class – a post I could not have written without the help of social media connections.

The All-Important Internship

It’s only been four days since the official start of Christmas break, but I’ve already started pondering internship possibilities for the coming summer.  Yes, it’s strange to think about my plans for June while watching movies like “A Christmas Story,” but over the past few months I’ve heard nothing but talk of the value of great internships, especially in a profession like public relations.

I am grateful to have friends, professors and advisors who have told me about internships and who have opened my eyes to their necessity.  Always on the lookout for ways to make the most of my college years, I decided it was time to take internship hunting seriously.

One of the hardest things for me to do is narrow my search.  There are countless opportunities available, so it seems foolish to throw some options out just because it doesn’t seem like the perfect fit.  While I can’t be too picky, I also don’t want to land in an environment that is totally wrong for me.

Over the past few months, I’ve discovered that I have a big passion for sports.  I’ve always enjoyed them, but only recently have I considered incorporating that passion into my career.  So, I’m on the lookout for contacts and internship programs that deal with sports.

That’s not to say that I’m limiting my internship search to just sports-related positions.  I’m also looking for agency and corporate PR internships.  The Career Services Coordinator at the UO J-School posts a really thorough list of public relations internships that has helped me think of companies I’d like to work for in the future, and I’ve also created my own LinkedIn profile, which I hope to use to create connections with fellow public relations students and professionals.

If you are also a student searching for a journalism or PR internship, I’d love to hear about your experience and what tools and resources you’ve found most helpful.  Right now, I’m in the beginning stages of searching for internships and learning what they are all about, so I welcome any and all advice regarding the all-important internship.  As the search progresses, I’m sure I’ll continue blogging about my successes, failures and new opportunities.