In comparison to the rest of my generation I think that I have been relatively slow to the use and acceptance of social media. I got a Facebook account and a smartphone in the fall of my senior year of high school in 2007 but until recently did I actually begin to understand and recognize all the things made possible by social media. I took Professor Kane’s mi021 Computers in Management class my freshmen year at BC and that is where I started to learn more about what social media can actually do for businesses and society as a whole. Initially I was skeptical that social platforms like Facebook could be anything more than fun ways to talk to friends and share pictures but now they are advertising and consumer data driven empires. I am not the best user of such social media outlets but I have gotten better over the years especially since the majority of my past internship experiences and academic experiences have used sharing websites quite often.
The summer after my sophomore year I interned as an account services intern at Mullen, an advertising agency in my hometown of Pittsburgh, where I first got my twitter account and learned how good a promotional tool twitter can be. As part of our intern project we held a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association, one of Mullen’s clients, at a local restaurant in the city and we mainly promoted it online via twitter and online community calendars. We tweeted the event flier and information at the major newspapers, magazines and local business bureaus around Pittsburgh and ended up raising over $1500 in one night. Though we couldn’t actually determine how many of the people came to the event due to our presence on twitter it was definitely a contributing factor to our success. We also did a huge marketing campaign project for Pennsylvania Tourism that created both twitter and Facebook accounts for visitPA.com the tourism website and to this day I still follow their status updates and tweets. At the end of the summer Mullen hired a person who was a “social media expert” and was in charge of running and researching all social media ideas for every clients campaign. After that I knew that social media was going to be very important to advertising because it was the next medium to reach young people.
When I was abroad in Italy last spring semester I used Shutterfly to organize all my photos to share with my family back home and it was fantastic because everyone could comment on pictures or events I had posted in my calendar and really see all the amazing things I was doing while in Europe. I was also able to tweet and status update from my smartphone everyday I traveled making it so much easier to stay in contact with people while being half way across the world. I realized more than every while being abroad that technology especially social media platforms makes the world so much smaller. I can still keep in contact with my tandem italian language partner in Italy through Facebook and have those memories and experiences kept forever.
This past fall I was a marketing intern at Boston magazine and one of my daily tasks was to search for twitter accounts to tweet at about upcoming special events for the magazine. Boston magazine’s marketing department mainly organizes monthly parties for the magazine launches and fundraiser events that promote businesses and groups in Boston. So for the Boston magazine TASTE event that hosted 50 famous restaurants and chef’s in Boston at the Museum of Science in November we used twitter, Facebook and email blasts heavily to get people to attend the event. The event sold out all 500 tickets to the event and was a huge success for the magazine and the restaurants that came. Boston magazine’s online website is infused with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links promoting the magazine and its a huge push there to keep growing online.
After being skeptical in the beginning, I am way more confident in the uses and powers of social media tools today. I have seen so many applications of social media that have been beneficial to myself and the organizations I have worked for so I am excited to see where the technology is going next! With anything I think it just takes some time for people to get used to something new so now that twitter and Facebook are embedded into our culture I think they will continue to thrive and be of more and more use to people everyday.