The past month has been the busiest and most worthwhile time I’ve had as intern at the Elmwood Village Association. I’ve settled into a routine within a particular role, which has been to draft all social media recognition posts for the Mass Appeal Fashion Show. Now time seems to fly by each day I’m in the office and I find myself working ten minutes past my shift without even noticing. When I’m working I’m fully “in the zone” – for lack of a better term – and I’m productive. I leave each day feeling accomplished and know that I used my time wisely. This is how an internship is supposed to be.
Before this internship, I was not interested in writing for social media. In fact I used to say that I “hate” social media because I barely use it in my personal life. My typical social media use involves a few brief, daily newsfeed scrolls on Facebook and about one selfie per week on Instagram. I don’t even have a Twitter account. I simply lack the patience to enjoy social media the way many of my friends do. However, I told Carly (my supervisor) at our mid-semester evaluation meeting that I wanted to take on a project with social media because I saw this as an area of my writing that I could and should improve.
As of today I’ve composed over 20 tweets and Facebook posts, half of which recognize participating boutiques, salons and stylists, and the rest recognize sponsors. This project required so much attention to detail it astonishes me. I had to check whether each organization had their own Facebook or Twitter accounts to be tagged in. I had to come up with a clever way to mention them all, meanwhile promoting the event and encouraging people to buy tickets. I had to use hashtags where appropriate, choose to link in a webpage link or link to our Facebook event page, and choose the best photo to attach. Once I completed all those steps, chances are I had to trim my post tremendously to fit into the Twitter 140-character limit. When I thought my posts were perfect, I shared them with Ashley (the Communications Director) to make minor edits and changes. Once the posts were polished, I scheduled when each would be sent out using a Social Media Management App called Hootsuite. I had to keep in mind the other posts Ashley had already scheduled to avoid posting too much at the same time. JEEZ there’s so much that goes into this intricate process! Who knew?
Today I will admit something that I never thought I would say in a million years: I enjoy writing for social media, a lot.
Ashley has given me nothing but positive feedback on the work I’ve done, and she seems genuinely grateful for how much I’ve helped her. Ashley’s encouragement and gratitude reassures me that I’m doing exactly what I sought in this internship. I’ve taken on a major project that has me learning about something that I was once unfamiliar with, and I can tell that I’m helping the Elmwood Village Association in a significant way. I could not ask for more.
It’s eye-opening to reflect on the first half of my internship experience and see how much I’ve grown. In the beginning I was doing work that needed to be done, and I was doing it well. The tasks I completed were never mundane or trivial, but there was always something inside me itching to do more. There’s a reason this blog is titled, “Beyond Coffee and Copies: Internships That Matter.” Internships are supposed to challenge you, push you out of your comfort zone and perhaps make you do things that you never thought you would. I’m pleased to say that my internship has always been more than coffee and copies, and I’m even more pleased to say that it’s developing into something far greater than that.