For a year and a half, I’ve been active in social media as a public relations student, a recent graduate interning at a big firm in a new city, and a young professional getting settled in her new career. As I grew and changed with each of these roles, so has my presence in social media. I believe this shift is one many students go through as they get their first jobs, though the results are extremely varied. Since the majority of my readers are PR students, I wanted to share how my social media activity has changed since I’ve embarked on my career and why it’s okay to experience change.
When I started blogging on PR Interactive, almost 2 years ago, I wanted to enhance my classroom education by analyzing and reporting industry trends. Back in 2007, the PR trend to discuss was social media. Most of my posts focused on digital PR campaigns, Twitter, Facebook, and viral videos and how these were influencing public relations students and professionals. Rarely did I write about traditional PR campaigns. To create a balance in my extracurricular education, I started following agency blogs and college professors. This opened my eyes to another benefit of social media: the world of networking.
I began using my blog as a networking tool in addition to supplementing my college education, especially as graduation grew closer and the impending job search became necessary. Twitter started to grow in popularity back in early 2008, so I created an account and started interacting with professors, students, and professionals from around the country regularly and easily. My digital network of PR influencers steadily grew via my blog, Brazen Careerist, and Twitter, and it’s no secret that this group of amazing people helped lead me to my outstanding internship and, subsequently, my current positon at NMS.
The last year, as I’ve embraced the title of “young professional” and [reluctantly] let go of “college student,” has probably seen my most dynamic shift in terms of social media presence. I don’t blog frequently or consistently, but I still comment on numerous blogs each day to engage in conversations about the PR industry.
Additionally, my Twitter network has grown exponentially to include the bloggers and journalists I frequently work with on behalf of my clients. Instead of focusing on just PR and social media, it’s imperative that I have an invested interest in the entertainment industry since the majority of my clients fall into this category. Following entertainment professionals – whether it’s a movie studio or a film critic – on Twitter has allowed me to build better relationships with them and my clients, which as I often say, is the foundation for good PR. And, of course, my Google reader is now filled with entertainment/film/TV blogs that I frequently comment on, too.
Currently, though I might not be as active on my own blog as I used to be, I’ve found ways to incorporate social media into my daily life outside of what I already do every day at NMS. All of it provides me with a better understanding of what I do as a PR professional at a digital agency.
I’ve also started using Twitter and blogs to learn more about my personal interests, such as traveling and the hospitality industry. I recently launched a separate blog, Take Flight, that allows me to investigate the tourism industry more in-depth, much as I did with PR back in 2007.
Though each of these stages allowed me to use social media differently to benefit my education and career, one aspect remained the same: social media allowed me to dive deeper into my passions while constantly learning about a variety of topics in ways I never thought possible. Communicating with much wiser people, who I might have never had the chance to meet and learn from, impacted my life, career, and knowledge of the online world in a way that will always be the most significant part of my social media presence.
As 2009 grads start their new lives post-college, I hope they realize it’s okay to change the way they use social media, and that their audiences and network will most likely shift, too, as they become more involved with the type of work they’ll be doing. As long as social media is providing value and education, there’s still benefit to participating, no matter how often (or not) you use Twitter or write on your blog.