This Thanksgiving, I was bombarded with questions about my current internship by relatives and friends’ parents. Those questions were then followed by a bit of confusion when I explained that I worked in social media, instead of news writing or public relations — two fields that come to mind when a degree in journalism is brought up.
“Well that sounds fun!”
“So, do you just mess around on Facebook?”
Those inquiring about the position and future field would try to relate it in terms that they understood. Words like marketing, communications or public relations were thrown around. Then, I would describe how the practices can have similarities, but were not concretely the same and how social media can be a bit more nuanced.
I had to choose how to explain it carefully, considering that working in social media is a relatively new profession, not just for personal use. Outlining that production, management, audiences, language, tone and more are essential to successful social media seemed to shock some relatives. I went on to explain that, this day and age, a strong and well-managed social media presence is a necessary full-time position for brands and companies, not some trivial effort by a part-time millennial trying to make their social media talent lucrative.
I do many little things throughout the week but my main responsibilities include researching social media developments and logging social media analytics. Analytics. That word threw people for a loop.
“There are numbers and data tracking involved in social media?”
As my inquisitive relatives learned more about the world of social media, they began to understand how journalism currently exists and how my future field may look much different than it did my mom, who graduated in 1985 with the same degree.
As for now, their curiosities about my current life are satiated. However, I will be returning home in three weeks for Winter Break and I am preparing for Round 2 — “Post-Graduation Plans”.