Social Media Samurai Pet Peeves: Social Media Internships
Internships have been a part of the professional growth process for ages. As new technology and ways to do business emerge so to do the opportunities for fresh faces to show their skills off to businesses in need. In their purest form I 100% understand the role of an internship. When targeted at the right people it is a valuable lesson in work ethic, determination and humility. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case.
The reality of the business world is that many brands want to get as much out of talent for free as possible. Dangling exposure and experience to an industry newcomer has often been a successful method to lure in workers. In the case of social media, which is still a new and growing industry, many businesses are attempting to use this same internship approach with those who have work force experience. They bank of the freshness of social media and the limited number of those that professionally grasp it as a way to get work loads lessened for nothing.
I took a stab at one of these gigs just to see if the end result would pay off. Here is my experience.
I came across a social media intern role with a respectable international media outlet. They have a solid following and have been recognized in their field with a number of awards. After doing my backward research I figured I’d go for it. The outlet is based in another country so the time difference worked out in my favor.
I was brought on quickly and then given the expected duties of my role. It was pure digital grunt work. I was given a set amount of “shares” that needed to happen for every new post that was published on the home site. While these social media shares could be spread around to various platforms, the biggest issue was the Facebook requirement. I was directed to post their content directly to the pages of those within my network.
They wanted more eyes on their site but they essentially wanted me to spam people. Their intentions weren’t malicious. They just didn’t understand the ethics and decorum required to operate effectively on social media. Not to mention these type of acts would negatively effect my personal brand. I tried to work my way around this but in the end we had to part ways.
You see, I believe that quality content gets attention naturally without having to beat people over the head with it.
When people utilize interns as just cheap labor it’s a disservice to the worker and the business. Any opportunity worth having should be a mutually beneficial experience. There’s more to social media than mere tweets and Instagram posts. I can only hope more businesses come to understand that.