Into the World of Social Media I Go: A Digital Resume

The development of social media created a relatively-accessible mode of sharing digital original content. Through channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and other social media sites, the average user feels as if they can make it big in the online world through their digital content creation. After all, aren’t we all here to share our thoughts in the hopes of being noticed and validated? That being said, we have seen that putting yourself out into the world of social media and content sharing can pay off, and some people are noticed. So, this is my shot, to introduce myself as a young professional trying to make it in the world of digital content creation via social media.

Proof that I am a real person outside of my Medium profile that loves apple orchards and big scarves.

ABOUT ME

Despite my professional passion in social media and the digital world, I believe the ability to relay your thoughts and personality through verbal communication is still a practiced skill. So, let me introduce myself:

WORK SAMPLES

The ability to create shareable, clickable content is a skill that many may view as luck. Due to the uncertain nature of public approval, some scholars claim there are ways to try to format viral content, but there is not a cut and paste formula for content creators wishing to get their work noticed by an elite. Still, I believe the true skill lies in being able to format content that appeals to audience bases. This involves researching audience analytics, creating content, and then targeting the desired audience. Through these skills, I have been able to harness my research and metric skills to effectively target audiences to create sharable content.

For my Spring 2017 internship with the EMILY’s List Digital Team, I drafted nearly 200 Facebook and Twitter posts that were posted on the EMILY’s List and Madam President accounts. Below is one post that had over 1.3K shares, an unusually high amount for the account.

Here are some of my tweets that tested well with our audiences, by following the same strategy I shared above:

Through the same audience research discussed previously, I have also created a sample strategic social media plan for a local resource, the DC Rape Crisis Center. In order to form a successful plan, I researched the mission of DCRCC, as well as their current social media platforms and their performance. Using that information as a starting point, I discovered the target audiences and the best way to interact with them through social media. By combining all the acquired information and data, I created a social media plan that, if implemented properly, would increase the social media presence of DCRCC by an estimated 35% across platforms.

Through my creation of the website and blog Everyday Violence, I have also been able to hone in on my technical skills. Through blog posts on the site, I have successfully created and embedded a slideshow of resources, recorded content to be turned into an original gif, and analyzed analytic reports to design a personalized plan to increase viewership. I also mined through statistics and data to find the numbers that would be the most effective for an effective infographic, which I then created.

The accompanying blog post can be found here.

The inspiration to create Everyday Violence started with my work as a Peer Educator for GW’s Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA). After entering into that role my freshman year of college, I became increasingly more aware of the normalization of rape culture and violence normalization in our society. This inspired me to take the social media skills that I had gained through previous internships with the Office of Governor Mark Dayton, the League of Women Voters, the Office of Senator Al Franken, and the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project and apply those skills and experiences to increase the social media presence of PAVE, a non-profit centered around shattering the silence around sexual assault. This experience laid the stepping stones for my increased awareness and education of discussing sexual violence.

When introduced with the challenge of creating a blog for my Social Media: Theory and Practice course through the School of Media and Public Affairs, I knew that I wanted it to continue the work I had started with SASA and PAVE. So I created Everyday Violence, a blog focused around exposing aspects of modern culture that normalize or invalidate sexual and domestic violence. Through my work with Everyday Violence, I have been able to push myself to become a relative expert on the issues of sexual and domestic violence, to ensure I am providing relevant and factual information to my audiences. This increased dedication and awareness has lead to my mobility within SASA to be named the new Director of Peer Education, where I will be creating workshops for all students organizations on campus.

Beyond working on my technical skills, this blog also allowed me to demonstrate and expand on other professional skills such as: the ability to discuss sensitive content in a meaningful way, to create regular, on-brand content, to conduct research across multiple sources and platforms, to demonstrate my commitment to a project by posting beyond the required posting dates, and to ensure that my information is up-to-date by routinely keying into resources and news organizations on related topics.

THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Despite not knowing what my own future holds, through my academic and professional research and experiences, I believe some predictions about the future of social media and digital content can be considered. The following three tweets are from my #SMPAsocial classmates and their observations about social media.

Emily’s tweet introduces a point that, once pointed out, makes sense to those that keep up with food and social trends. The infamous “Unicorn Frappucino” from Starbucks, introduced for a limited time this April, is a great example to demonstrate the impact social media has had on food and businesses. Many critics have claimed the sugary drink has no redeeming flavor qualities; a food reviewer from The Washington Post described its taste as “sour birthday cake and shame.” These harsh reviews expose a harsh truth. Starbucks seems to have created the drink — which costs nearly $5 for a grande (medium) — for their Instagram-worthy appearance. Despite mixed reviews, the frappucino sold out in most stores, so I’m not so sure Starbucks and other high-profile brands will stop creating expensive, yet low-quality, products for the sake of the Insta.

Despite Rachel’s tweet coming off as just a humourous observation, I think it allows us to discuss a point about social media that terrifies content creators everywhere: there is no way to win social media. Cher’s tweets break the rules of traditional social media use by elites, through her emojis, capitalization, and odd punctuation, yet the tweets all gain attention. Although she doesn’t follow the “rules” of creating sharable content, her content is still shared by thousands. Despite her status as an elite that does not necessarily need to pass through a gatekeeper to reach her audience, Cher and Rachel’s tweets demonstrate to me that we will never be able to pin down exactly what works for social media.

Finally, Lauren’s predictions on the effect of a lawsuit between Twitter and the government. The frequent clashes between social media companies and the U.S. government don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. As media companies continue to develop and attract more users, the way in which the country and its leaders interact with those companies will have to continuously change and adapt. Unforunately, I am not a privacy policy wonk and can’t add insight to the case, but I think it is important to note that our government doesn’t seem to be keeping up with social media.

Through my own tweets, I have also uncovered and shared some important observations about the intersection of social media and our society.

Although my original intent of this tweet was just to share a random thought that came to me while following a local politician’s tweets, I think it’s a good thought to chew on for awhile. Speechwriters and members of press teams used to design statements that would fit well into a soundbite for the evening news. But, as traditional news consumership goes down, and digital/online news consumership goes up, I think it would be interesting to study as to whether writers have stopped writing for the soundbite, and instead write for the “tweet-bite”. The challenge of this, of course, it that it must be under 140 characters in order to fit into a tweet, yet based on the amount of interactions and reach the social media posts of the political elite gain, I think it is safe to say that this assumption could be the truth.

If you couldn’t tell from, well, this entire digital resume, I love social media. I think the ability to create original content on easy and accessible platforms is an amazing feat, and I do not think it has hindered my ability to interact in the “real world” whatsoever. However, this tweet points out the important observation that social media may not be the best for all people. Being constantly plugged in can be dragging, and it can increase FOMO for those that are watching other’s posts. Although I do not believe there is a solution for this issue, I think it is important to keep in mind as we think about the importance of social media and its impact on its users.

Lastly, this entertaining calculation made by The Atlantic. Apparently, my life so far has been centered around the existance of Twitter. This brings me to think about the differences between my age group, and younger generations and our views on social media. Having lived half a life without Twitter, I know how to live a life focused almost solely around in-person communication rather than sharing my thoughts with strangers around the world. But for those younger than me, they will not remember a time before Twitter. How will this impact the younger generations, those that actually have had more experiences with online communication than in-person? I don’t see a point in worrying about it now, necessarily, but we must be mindful about the impact social media creators can be having.

IN CLOSING

Despite the issues introduced in the above tweets, at the end of the day, I think social media still plays an important role in our society that should not be ignored.

Social media’s increased ability for users and businesses to target their content towards specific audiences can make a world of difference. Through conducting research on the target audiences for the DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC) to create my social media plan for class, I was amazed at how specific one can get when trying to target users. To me, this power can have a great impact on ethical organizations and non-profits. Specifically, when handling sensitive issues such as assault or acts of intimate violence, it can be difficult to reach out to others in an effective manner. Through the ability to target specific audiences for social media campaigns, non-profits such as DCRCC can get their information to audiences that may need their resources. Although targeting cannot go as far as to figure out who has survived violent acts, it can be used to reach audiences that statistically will need their resources for themselves or for others around them.

Activism also has been able to increase positively through the accessability of social media. Although critiques of “slactivism” are valid and should be taken into consideration, through my observations, social can make a big impact on those wishing to make a difference or share a statement. The ability to organize and encourage mobilization across movements through tweets and messages has increased the ability for the average person to get involved in activist efforts. Some might say that sharing a filter to support a cause on your Facebook page is not true activism, but to that I say, anything counts. Expressing the awareness and support of an issue or cause is more activism than many of those that existed before the world of social media and digital news ever partook in. The label of activism is not exclusively for those that can march through the streets or donate money to good causes. That way of thinking, quite honestly, is ableist and makes a movement inaccessible.

Social media is an important part of the modern world, and its influential powers cannot, and should not, be ignored. Despite the uncertainties of its nature, I believe that when the right amount of work and care is put into the job, social media can make a world of difference. That is my hope and plan for the future.

WANT TO HIRE ME?

Thanks for the interest! I am currently located in Washington, DC and am always on the lookout for poltical and activist groups that focus on strategic digital communication.

Below is a peak at my most recent resume. If you would like a full list of my experiences and positions, please feel free to reach out! I can best be reached at: harrison.emily78@gmail.com